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Freedom fighter Fr. Saturnino’s remains reburied in Torit

By Isaac Vuni

January 31, 2009 (JUBA) — The remains of Fr. Saturnino Lohure
Hilangi were reburied Friday in Torit town, Eastern Equatoria, 42
years after he was assassinated by a Ugandan soldier on January 22,
1967 at Lokung Kitgum district.

Lohure (also "Ohure") was a Catholic priest who led guerilla
separatists during Sudan’s first civil war. A Lotuko from Torit,
Lohure continued to play a role in the leadership of the Anya-nya
insurgency even after civilian rule came to Sudan in October 1964.

The remains, brought from Uganda, were accompanied by Bishop John
Baptist Odama of Gulu and received by Bishop Johnson Akio Mutek of
Torit along with many senior government officials.

But many committed followers were disappointed by the action of
Governor Alosio Emor Ojetuk, who did not bring the remains on the day
coinciding with Lohure’s assassination. Southern leaders such as Hon.
David Mayo, Hon. Natisio Loluke, Hon. Peter Bashir, Joyce Kwaje of the
human rights commission, and Prof. Bureng of the national parliament,
among others, failed to participate in the historic occasion as the
day was reduced to the level of only Eastern Equatoria.

Fr. Saturnino is credited with suggesting that Joseph Lagu, who was
from the Madi ethnic minority, lead the Anya-nya movement in its early
stage because of Lagu’s military background and training as the only
southern officer. Lagu later became a leading national and regional
politician.

It is on record that on receiving news of Fr. Saturnino’s death, the
Khartoum government sent a congratulatory message to the Ugandan
government for its collaboration in the assassination of someone they
termed an outlaw leader.

On the other hand, Sudan’s First Vice President and President of South
Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit, a staunch Catholic, has ranked Fr.
Saturnino Lohure Hilangi with other legendary heroes of South Sudan’s
freedom struggle.

These include William Deng Nhial, assassinated on
May 5, 1968 in Bahr el Ghazal, Joseph Akol killed in 1970, Lado
Lokurnyang killed at Boma training camp in July 1983, Nyacigak
Nyacilluk killed in 1986 after capturing Boma garrison, Joseph Oduho
assassinated on March 27, 1993, William Nyuon Bany assassinated on
January 13, 1996, Kerubino Kwanyin Bol assassinated on September 10,
1999, and John Garang, killed in a plane crash on July 30, 2005, among
others.

(ST)