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Fear grips South Sudan after church attack

South Sudan

Four people were kidnapped after thousands of displaced civilians fled their homes during an attack on a church compound in South Sudan last Thursday.

Homes of civilians were torched and property destroyed by unknown assailants in Rimenze, in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria region.

“Up to now people are still sleeping in the bush, because there is no security. Even they had come to the church and there is no security in the church. There is no information about the government tackling the security here’‘, said Reverend Father Peter Babetimo of the Rimenze Catholic Church.

Charles Jacob Mbaro is one of Rimenze’s internally displaced persons.

“They removed grass, set my tukul (hut) on fire. Then they entered my neighbour’s tukul, looted their bicycle, motorbike and some money about 30,000 South Sudanese pounds (300 US dollars) then they left”, Mbaro said.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) dispatched a joint assessment mission to the area. The team arrived on Thursday.

“We really have not been able to attribute it to anyone but still civilians should enjoy their security and we will take this and advocate with the state authorities – to have at least a police post in Rimenze, so that we are able to detect some of the incidents that affect the civilians in this area”, said Human rights officer, Antonina Okuta.

Rimenze has been used as a battlefield in the fight between the government and armed rebel groups since 2016.

The formation of South Sudan’s unity government, which was extended for 100 days on November 12, has left civilians frustrated. They are unsure of whether it is safe to return to the camp for displaced persons.


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