Eye Radio reported that in addition to the two sisters, a male driver and another man had been killed in the attack. A man driving a Boda Boda motorcycle taxi was also killed after he was hit by a speeding truck “fleeing from the attack,” according to the South Sudanese radio’s report.
The Archdiocese of Juba is observing a four-day closure of its Catholic schools, universities, and seminaries Aug. 17-20 in mourning for the deaths of the two nuns.
The archdiocese is also celebrating Mass every day for the murdered religious sisters, who were both from South Sudan.
Sr. Abud was the superior general of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from 2006-2018. At the time of her death, she was head teacher at the Usratuna school in Juba.
Sr. Roba was a tutor and administrator at the Catholic Health Training Institute in South Sudan’s Wau Diocese.
In an Aug. 17 statement, South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir Mayardit said the violent attack and the deaths of five people was the responsibility of “Holdout Groups” and stated that “the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity condemns this act of terror with the strongest terms possible.”
“The fact that Sisters Mary Abud and Regina Roba were coming from the celebration of an important milestone of Christianity in our country: the centenary celebration of the [Assumption of Our Lady] Loa Parish did matter to these criminals,” Kiir said.
President Kiir also sent his condolences for the death of the Catholic sisters to the local Catholic community.
“While we mourn the departed, let us equally pray that God gives us the strength we need to overcome this traumatic experience,” he said. “Let us also pray for the Church leadership to remain strong despite the shocking experience of this tragedy.”
In his statement, Kiir said the murder on Aug. 16 demonstrates the lack of commitment to peace on the part of non-signatories to the September 2018 Peace Agreement, and added that his government may have to “reconsider its position on the ongoing Sant’Egidio led Rome Initiative.”
“Our pursuit of an inclusive peace should never be taken for a weakness and used as a window to kill the innocent,” he stated.
(Story continues below)
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Last month, leadership of Catholic community Sant’Egidio hosted a four-day meeting between South Sudan’s Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU), the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance-South Sudan United Front/Army (SSOMA SSUF/A) and the SSOMA-Real Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SSOMA Real SPLM).
At the end of the July 15-18 meeting, held in the presence of observers from the international community, South Sudan’s warring parties signed two documents, including one in which they expressed their commitment to attending other meetings to be held in Rome in September, October, and November 2021.
According to the community of Sant’Egidio, international observers and mediators hope the upcoming Rome meetings will lead to a final peace agreement between parties in the South Sudan conflict.