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ECSS bishop says he survived an assassination attempt in Bor

ECSS bishop says he survived an assassination attempt in Bor

The archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS) Jonglei internal province-Arama faction, Moses Anur, says he and his two other colleagues survived an attempt on their lives by armed youth loyal to a rival group in the state capital, Bor town, on Saturday morning.

The ECSS church in Jonglei was split in August 2020 when the Church’s Primate Justin Badi Arama defrocked Bishop Reuben Akurdit Ngong accusing him of canonical disobedience for rejecting suspension a  year earlier.

Akurdit rejected the defrocking as nonprocedural and filed a lawsuit at a Juba High court to have Arama’s decision overturned but the court last year dismissed the case referring it to a church tribunal for redress.

Tensions have since remained high among the two camps.

“On Saturday at 3 am, a group loyal to Akurdit attacked me, Bishop Gabriel Thuc and Bishop Zechariah Manyok at St. Peter Church,” Bishop Anur told Radio Tamazuj. “They wanted to kill us. After failing to open our doors, they fired our rooms with PKM and AK-47. In my rooms alone there were 28 bullet holes.”

The clergymen said the tensions remain high.

“Last night, I was evacuated to Juba after the state government intervened and demanded so. Actually, the tensions are still there. My community wanted to get involved but I said no because it is a church issue,” he said.

Bishop Anur, however, said that he had opened a case with the police.

“Those who attacked us are known, so we opened the case with the police. But the problem is that there might be no justice because the government in the persons of senior politicians both in Juba and the state are supporting Akurdit,” he said. “And if there will be no justice. The situation will escalate because our communities will get involved.”

Rev. Jacob Ngong, a clergyman loyal to Akurdit’s ECSS faction, dismissed Bishop Anur’s version of the story and said that they were acting in self-defense.

“We did not attack them. We were there to ask them to leave Bor as per the government orders because where they settled belong to Makuach Diocese of Bor, “ he said. “In fact, we were waiting for Arama to call us so that the issue is settled.”

He added, “As you know, no diocese operates in another diocese. We are still part of Episcopal. There is nowhere we will go. Bor diocese is for the people of Bor.”

For his part, Tuong Majok, the state cabinet minister, said they are investigating the incident.

“What happened over the weekend was uncalled for because there were some bishops banned from Bor and when they came the tensions rose,” he said. “Last night, a group who seemed to be loyalists of Akurdit went to the compound where the bishops wherein and they opened fire on rooms and their vehicle. God is in favor of life. So no one died because bishops were not in the rooms.

He added, “Our first intervention is that we expelled all the rival bishops. We apprehended one culprit and the rest have been identified and we called them to present themselves otherwise the law will take its course.”


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