South Sudan, Pajok – On Monday, April 3rd, the town of Pajok in South Sudan was attacked by soldiers who blocked the exits from the town and killed residents indiscriminately. Since South Sudan became a sovereign state on July 9, 2011 the country has been racked by internal warfare among conflicting armies.
Churches of Christ operate a hospital and the South Sudan Bible School at Pajok, a village of 49,000 (2012).
The hospital was ransacked and staff who were not able to flee were taken hostage.
According to Reuters, nurse Margaret Alloyo, who was able to escape to the Ugandan border fourteen miles away, said: “We just ran. I spoke to a colleague at the hospital but she said she had been detained. I don’t know what has happened to her. Now the calls do not go through.”
Don Humphrey gives this update as of 3:30 pm CST, Monday, April 10th.
By way of explanation, Simon Yope is our clinic lab technician and because of his fluency in English has been in contact with us. John Jock is the head nurse of the clinic. Isaya Jackson is one of our most respected leaders in the South Sudan churches. The following are their messages to us since the attack.
On Tuesday morning, April 4th, Simon Yope reported that there was shooting all around and casualties and everyone was heading for the bush. He said he would update us later. Later I received an email from someone that I assume to be him with only pictures of fleeing people.
A little later I got an email from Isaya Jackson telling me about the attack and that about 8,000 people were at a Uganda border crossing.
On April 6th this message was received from Simon Yope:
“Sir, we have all deserted Pajok. Government soldiers are indiscriminately killing civilians and looting houses. It was a surprise attack that made us leave without packing our belongings. The rebels are fighting back. We are at the boarder after two days walk. Marcella is very tired.” (Marcella is one of our nurses and his mother.)
On Friday April 7th this was received from Simon Yope:
“Sir, South Sudan government soldiers have followed us up to the boarder to force us back home but the Ugandan soldiers stopped them. This shows that our stay at the border is even at risk. We pray for urgent relocation for safety.”
On Saturday, April 8th this was received from Simon Yope: “Sir, I have received a report from Pajok that our clinic facility is completely looted, doors broken, and window glasses broken. A boy came and brought the black Microscope and an electronic thermometer. Almost everything is carried away by the soldiers. Also the Bible Learning Center is looted with door gunshot. So sad that these government soldiers just loot and kill. We are left with little property which due to its weight is still left. So sad brother.”
Received from John Jock:
“I have confirmed that Margaret who is our worker in the Clinic is ok. She is now at the border together with our medical staff. All of them are fine. We have been hearing news that the husband of our cleaner, Rose, was detained and also some reports saying that he is among the people who were killed by the government forces.”
On Monday, April 10th this was received from Isaya Jackson: “We have been informed that the government soldiers have broken into the clinic and looted drugs and equipment. But the water trucks are still intact. We got this information from those who were arrested but later escaped from the soldiers and are now in Uganda.”
Update by Don Humphrey on April 19th:
Below is the only news we have received from the refugee camps in several days. Simon Yope writes:
“Thank you sir. We are praying under a tree at Sisto’s place and it’s the rainy season. We are planning to erect a temporary shelter using plastic sheeting. We need your prayers and assistance for that to happen.
The most urgent needs for our Christians are; beans, maize flour and blankets. These are the basics. The camp has over 12000 people and most are from Pajok. Most of our Christians are here. Only a few went to Moyo, close to Adjumani . May God bless you.”
[By way of explanation: Sisto is the preacher of the Pajok campus congregation. Moyo is another refugee camp and Adjumani is one of the largest and best known camps.]
Don Humphrey states: “We will be working to see if we can find a way to get relief goods to them. This is going to be a massive undertaking so please pray for them and for us that we may find a way to get these basic goods to them and the funds to pay for them.”
For more information see http://www.sudan-project.org/