"Report from Nzara: LRA are attacking again" – testimonies from South Sudan
Several weeks ago we posted reports of recent LRA raids from Sister Giovanna Calabria, a Comboni nun working with LRA-affected communities in the small town of Nzara, South Sudan. Last Monday Sister Giovanna wrote us again, with news of more rebel attacks. Read more below:
“Today, 14th November, at 10 a.m. I went to verify what happened the previous evening in Beremanga, the road going to Nasikisa. I saw the bodies of the 4 people killed by the LRA: Mr. Daniel Kpangakpo with his daughter Jeniti and Mr. Attilio Gadia (who was a worker at the complex) with his son, Atio.
After saying a prayer I was able to take a picture of Daniel and Jeniti. I could not do the same for Attilio and his son as their bodies were already wrapped in a blanket and being collected by the Ugandan soldiers to be taken to their Headquarters.
This is what happened through the words of Attilio’s wife who able to escape in the confusion -
It was 6 p.m. of Friday 13th November when six LRA, three of them holding a gun, came to the Attilio’s house led there by an abducted man. They asked for food and the wife offered cassava leaves but they refused and asked for cassava roots; Attilio sent his son Atio to go to the field and uproot the cassava.
One of the LRA then explained to Attilio that they wanted to surrender, and they inquired about the presence of the Ugandan military soldiers in the area. Attilio offered to accompany them to Nzara to surrender. The LRA fighter then asked who the neighbour was and Attilio sent his son to collect by bicycle his neighbour Daniel. The daughter Jeniti followed him on foot. Daniel came and they all started to discuss, but suddenly the atmosphere changed and LRA began shooting. They killed Attilio, his son and Daniel. The abducted man managed to escape into the bush and saved himself. Daniel’s daughter came to see what was happening and she was also shot.
Today, Sunday 15th of November people found in Beremanga three bodies killed probably on Friday morning with their heads crushed, as the LRA likes to spare bullets.
South Sudanese soldiers went with police to check. They found the bodies of a man and of a couple living in the area. They had gone to see if the trap they had set previously had captured an animal. On the way back they probably met the LRA and were killed.
I am asking myself for how long innocent people have to be killed, abducted, to live in fear, in hiding?
Who can put a stop, FOREVER, to LRA activities? I know Ugandan soldiers are really doing their best, so South Sudanese soldiers, so the “arrow boys” (local militias)… but Joseph Kony and some of his commanders and troops are still free and active. WHY?
I believe, as I am told, that it is difficult to trace them from their hiding places, the forest, the vast bush and abandoned areas left by the people who run away for safer places.
We, people of the Church, offer our daily prayer to God that He may change the hearts and the activities of the LRA. Let them realize that what they have been taught to do is coming from a distorted, sick mind and their activities will only bring suffering, and destruction and desolation even to them.
Sr. Giovanna Calabria”