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Sudanese priest shot at altar

Once again the Archbishop of Sudan has issued an urgent appeal in the wake of rampant violence. On Aug. 29, in Wernyol, a town in Southern Sudan, at least 40 men, women and children were killed, including the Ven Joseph Mabior Garang who was shot at the altar during Morning Prayer. Many more were wounded. Garang was Archdeacon of Wernyol and the Archbishop's Commissary in the new Diocese of Twic East. The attackers were reported to be well armed with new automatic weapons, trained and organized and dressed in army uniforms. Consequently in the view of the church, this was not a tribal conflict as commonly reported, but a deliberately organized attack on civilians by those that are against the peace in Southern Sudan.

In an earlier attack in mid-August the Lord’s Resistance Army (a terrorist group) killed three people, including a lay reader. The attackers abducted children from an Episcopal Church building, looted and vandalized a hospital and forced thousands to flee their homes. “These attacks imperil the fragile peace process in Sudan and could be prevented with more international government attention,” said the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan. If this violence continues, “there is no hope of conducting free and fair elections in these areas in 2010 and no hope of a fair referendum on Southern secession in 2011.” The Primate urges other governments to make peace in the Sudan a priority and to provide humanitarian assistance to the 39,000 displaced and wounded.

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