South Sudan president urges decisive action in church dispute

Hentet fra , January 25th 2022

January 25, 2022 (JUBA) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir urged community leaders, intellectuals, and imminent personalities in Jonglei state to come together and make a decisive action to break dispute pitting two bishops and their followings in Anglican church in Bor town.

Presidential Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin told reporters on Monday president Kiir decided to hold a meeting with the leaders from Bor Community in Jonglei State to discuss how to resolve the ongoing disputes in Jonglei Internal Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan.

“The dispute which has erupted within the leadership of a church in Jonglei’s internal province of the Anglican Church is becoming a great concern not only to us as the people from Jonglei and leaders but also the faithful,” said Benjamin who is from Jonglei.

He underscored that this conflict has caused divisions and now growing into a security matter in Jonglei.

“His Excellency President Salva Kiir Mayardit is also concerned about the ongoing crisis in Bor Town and has urged the church to abide by the laws of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, which would be the best way in resolving the dispute,” the minister said.

According to Benjamin, has asked all the leaders of the Bor community to make a decisive action to contain the situation from spiraling out of control .

The meeting was attended by Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, senior presidential affairs Kuol Manyang Juuk and presidential affairs minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin. Other officials who attended the meeting were information minister Michael Makuei Lueth, deputy foreign affairs and international cooperation minister and the secretary General of the government Abdon Agau Nhial. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon. Deng Dau appealed to Christians in Jonglei Internal Province to accept the proposed solutions to bring an end to the crisis in the Church.

Also, Kiir decided to convene a meeting with the Bor community leadership in a bid to end dispute in Jonglei internal province.

The Anglican church in Jonglei 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, citing nonprocedural and filed a lawsuit at a Juba High court. He used the court to overturn the decision of the Primate. But; the court dismissed the case referring it to a church tribunal.

Tensions later grew and continued to undermine working relations and worship.

Bishop Moses Anur told Sudan Tribune on Monday that he and three bishops were attacked last week on “Saturday at 03.00am at St. Peter Church by a group loyal to a rival Bishop Akurdit.

“It was unbelievable that Bishop Gabriel Thuc, Bishop Zechariah Manyok and I came under attack. They wanted to kill us. They fired into our rooms with PKM and AK-47. In my rooms alone they fired 28 bullets. They left big holes there I speak to you. This was after failing to open our doors”, explained Anur.

The church leader said he and his group were evacuated to Juba after the incident when the state government and community leadership intervened and asked them to leave the state so that tension is diffused and to restore calm in Bor town by the state and security organs.

Bishop Akurdit denied accusations that he was involved in the attack, describing the statement as a propaganda.

He acknowledged existence of a dispute in the church was still waiting the Archbishop of Juba diocese and Primate to guide how the dispute could be amicably resolved within the hierarchy of the church instead of allowing it to simmer and spiral out of control to divide the faithful and the church.