Home | News    Tuesday 31 May 2016

Leadership of Dinka church express regret over violent protest inside church

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May 30, 2016 (JUBA) – The leadership of the Emmanuel Jieng [Dinka] Parish has released a statement, saying it regretted the violent protest which occurred inside their church in the capital, Juba on Sunday.

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Bishop Nathaniel Garang Anyieth

They also said the church leadership had convinced the top priest in charge who announced he was resigning over the embarrassing situation caused by Dinka youth protesters, to reconsider his decision and continue leading the church.

The tribally-named Emmanuel Jieng Parish is a branch of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan with Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul as its overall leader in the country.

On Sunday, several protesters were arrested inside the church by security personnel after staging a protest against the church leadership for inviting the First Vice President, Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, to the ethnic Dinka church service on 22 May, where he preached the need for peace, reconciliation and forgiveness among the people.

Machar also urged the congregation to support the implementation of the peace agreement he signed with President Salva Kiir to end the 21 months of the civil war.

Since his arrival in Juba on 27 April, Machar visited different churches on Sundays and Saturday with different congregations of different tribes, repeating the same message of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness.

However, his appearance on Sunday, 22 May, in the ethnic Dinka church, which is predominantly of Dinka Bor members from Jonglei state, angered some members of the congregation who walked out in protest, accusing the church leadership of inviting an enemy.

On Sunday, 29 May, a week later, protesters, mainly young people, allegedly incited by politicians inside the church, almost interrupted the church service and demanded that the top church priest who invited Machar last week resigned.

The Dinka Bor youth who stormed the church carried banners of pictures and names of their three senior dead army Generals who were killed in action between 2013 and 2014 while commanding government troops against Machar’s opposition forces.

The Emmanuel Jieng Parish’s top priest, Reverend Joseph Maker Achiek, after witnessing the chaotic situation, decided to resign, which he announced immediately on Sunday.

Also Bishop Nathaniel Garang Anyieth, a respected veteran priest who was also in the attendance and witnessed the chaotic scene, was seen crying while conducting a closing prayer in the church.

The statement released by the church on Sunday evening, however said the church’s top priest, Pastor Achuek, will continue to lead the Emmanuel Jieng Parish, describing the protesters who demanded his resignation as not members of the church.

“The Parochial Church Council regrets over the row initiated by non-congregants during the church service at Emmanuel on Sunday, the 29/05/2016. The row-group were dressed in black T-shirts holding pictures of Late Generals Abraham Jongroor Deng and Kuol Malith Reech and also indicated the name of Ajak Yen who were killed in the recent war. Their intention was to provoke the church into chaos, which did not happen,” partly reads the press statement signed by Solomon Manyang Jok, the church secretary.

“The group claimed to be disappointed by the visit of the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar Teny last Sunday, the 22nd May 2016, accusing the church to have allowed him to pray and addressed the congregation, because they termed the church to be tribal while the church is the body of Christ where everybody has right to exercise his Christian rites,” the statement further reads.

He said the government’s law enforcement personnel intervened and apprehended the protesters, but added that the church administration sent a delegation to the security organ to release them later.

“As a result of the row, the Parish Priest, Rev. Joseph Maker Achiek was emotionally moved and uttered his resignation, which the Council termed as slippery of tongue. Based on this, the Church Council called the Parish Priest immediately to withdraw his statement, which he did,” he said.

“We as a church do urge our members and the community at large to remain calm and show away from this barbaric act of this group and click into the spirit of love, harmony and unity as children of God,” the statement added.

(ST)

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  • 31 May 2016 05:31, by Ayuiu Makuac Lam

    Correct, but security agents arrested youth?
    Are they belonging to Riek Machar or government agents who detained youth?

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    • 31 May 2016 07:18, by Eastern

      ...the protest was misplaced and political in nature; let them sort out themselves somewhere in Blue house or Gorom. The youth should use their energies and time to drum up support for peace. Those who don’t go to church to pray shouldn’t use that forum to advance their political nuisances...

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    • 31 May 2016 09:52, by Bazinguaboy

      To your question (and please excuse my ignorance), I thought Riek Machar is now the government itself ... no?

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  • 31 May 2016 07:15, by Eastern

    A lawless violent community shouldn’t be surprised by acts of their members who chose to act the way they did; peace will continue to remain elusive if you folks don’t up!!

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  • 31 May 2016 10:39, by Akuma

    The church itself has contradicted themselves. In God’s house, there no non-congregants in church. That church is rebel themselves and when did church become a political rally placed? The have come out condemned the act of protesters when they fail to condemned Riek Machar statement of blame gov’t for atrocities when the Riek who killed People in Akobo, Unity, Bor, Malakal. SPLM IO Church not God

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  • 31 May 2016 12:33, by Whortti Bor Manza

    This shows the uncivilised behaviour of the Dinkas. When did the Dinkas become Christians by the way?

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  • 31 May 2016 20:40, by Robot

    People disgraced the holy spirit in totality... in the same church we have been praying for peace BUT those (protesters) cowards chose the church as a platform for demonstration!!!, let them go to Riek’s office or to the street straight to the parliament, church hasn’t played any role in the bloodshed except advocating for peace all along, therefore not only are they uncivilized but true devils.

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  • 1 June 2016 09:59, by doot

    Ethnic Riek should be blame for any show of dissappointment.He Went To Church and Then Protest Started after.This Protest is an indication that His Faith Among Christian is in question.His Ethnic spiritualism cannot be trusted.

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