Akurdit, Anur trade accusations over church violence in Uganda

Akurdit, Anur trade accusations over church violence in Uganda
Defrocked Archbishop of Jonglei Internal Province, Reuben Akurdid Ngong. [Photo: Courtesy]

The defrocked Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan’s Jonglei Internal Province, Ruben Akurdid Ngong, and his successor, Moses Anur, traded accusations over violence in the Nyamuzi refugee camp that left one person injured.

The violence was triggered in Nyumanzi Refugee Settlement on Wednesday when a group of refugees who support retired, Archbishop Akurdid, locked one of the churches that was preparing to receive Bishop Moses Anur Ayom.

An eyewitness who preferred anonymity told The City Review that one of the youth was shot in the leg by Ugandan police as he tried to stop them from destroying church instruments.

 However, Bishop Moses Anur Ayom said in an interview with The City Review yesterday that the youth closed the church with an aim of not allowing his group to conduct mass in the area.

“When the pastors (his group) were going to another church to conduct the service (mass), the youth also wanted to go there and destroy the church and close the church.” They do not want any church to be opened to us,” Anur said.

He claimed that the youth who shut down the church to prevent clerics from president over religious duties were supporters of defrocked Bishops Akurdit. 

“The first church we were preparing to go to, which is St. John, was closed, and we got some information that youth who are supporters of Akurdit do not want us to be in that church,” he said.

Meanwhile, Philip Maluak Deng, a press officer in the office of defrocked Bishop Akurdit, denied the incident, adding that the Internal Province under Akurdit was not behind any violence in any of the camps in Uganda.

 “Those in refugee camps in Uganda and Kenya are neutral in the on-going conflict between Anur and Akurdit,” Maluak said.

He said that the Uganda and Kenya chapters wrote letters not to be visited by either Anur or Akurdit until their dispute was resolved.

“We are not behind that conflict, and Akurdit is not involved in that conflict in Nyamuzi refugee camps; it is people in the camp who build their own churches, refusing those of Anur not to enter their churches,” he added.

He called on Bishop Anur and the group to come back to South Sudan in order to reduce conflict among the refugees.

 The Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the ECSS, Dr. Justin Badi Arama, defrocked Akurdid in August 2020 after accusing him of canonical disobedience.

Archbishop Moses Anur, who has been on a canonical visit to the diocese’s congregation in Uganda since December, was granted permission to visit on Thursday by Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), which is in charge of refugees.