- November 30, 2010
- Voices from the Ground
Our friend Sister Giovanna, a nun who works with LRA-affected communities in Nzara, South Sudan, recently wrote to us again to share the stories of some of the people she’s met who’ve been affected by the violence. We wanted to share them with you, too. This is what she wrote:
Today, September 27, 2010, Christine* came to ask for help. She was dressed in white cloth which is a sign of mourning for widows among the Azande. She looked miserable and sad. I asked her what happened and she narrated that last month in August—she does not remember the day, only that it was Friday—her husband Jean-Pierre decided to go to the market of Nebiapai, at the border with Congo, not far from their village. Jean-Pierre was the Catechist of Nabambisa Chapel at Gitikiri Center. On the way he met a group of LRA who abducted him. Later, the same group abducted a whole family, three men and one woman, and then four more women, a man, and a child. They killed Jean-Pierre the same Friday, and the others the following day. Their bodies were found with their heads crushed by a log. Apart from a crushed skull, Jean-Pierre had a hole on the right side of his head from the bayonet of a gun.
Due to fear and insecurity, after burying her husband, Christine left the village with her ten children and went to stay with her brother near Nzara. All the people of that area also fled. Three of Christine’s ten children are married, while the remaining seven are still under her care. She added that nothing could be harvested from the fields, they just came empty handed. They are now facing a lot of difficulty in obtaining shelter and food.
On September 29, 2010, a thirteen-year-old boy, Philip, came to ask for clothes. He shared his story: He was living with his family in Bangadi, DR Congo. In August 2009, early one morning he joined his relatives and neighbors, a group of fourteen men, to go into the forest hunting. His fifteen-year-old nephew George went with him. On the way, they saw a group of LRA coming, and they all started running, but unluckily Philip and George fell into the LRA’s ambush. They were captured and told they were going to become soldiers like them.
After walking for some days, they reached an LRA camp. Philip stayed with them for one year, and he was taught to use the gun, the machete, and the stick to kill. He was also obliged to kill. One day some LRA soldiers took George and other boys to loot food in the villages nearby. When they went back to the camp, George was not among them. When no one was watching them, as the LRA forbid the abducted people to talk to each other, Philip asked the boys where his nephew had gone. He was told that George fell while running, injuring his foot, and he had difficulty walking. He was then shot.
One day the UPDF attacked the camp. During the fighting, Philip was able to escape, but a bullet hit him in the leg. He was taken in by the UPDF, taken to Nzara, and operated on. He now walks with a stick, limping. They are now trying to find his family.
*all names have been changed