WALGAK, SOUTH SUDAN (January 24, 2012) – The aunt of James Tang, Evangelical Covenant Church missionary to South Sudan, and her three-year-old was one of several people brutally murdered by attackers from another tribe last August.
She was one of more than 1,000 people the United Nations (UN) says has been killed in a cycle of revenge killings and kidnappings between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes since last June.
Nyabang Gok, 28, was killed when Murle attacked the area of Walgak and burned two villages to the ground, Tang says. Gok and her son were stabbed to death. Her five-month-old daughter was stabbed and left for dead.
“Thank God that someone from the UN who was working in the local clinic came to check those who were killed and found the baby still alive,” Tang says. The baby was taken to a medical clinic where a nurse identified the baby as Gok’s child.
Tang says his aunt was a member of the Walgak local congregation of the Evangelical Covenant Church in South Sudan (ECCSS). Walgak is located in the state of Jonglei, the largest in South Sudan.
The killings of women and children are beyond understanding, says Tang. “It makes no sense at all.”
The ECCSS is comprised almost entirely of Lou Nuer individuals. Women who are kidnapped are then married and kidnapped children are raised as members of the tribe that abducted them, says Tang.
Since the first attacks, the Lou Nuer and Murle have engaged in revenge killings and kidnappings as well as the theft of cattle. The United Nations says 120,000 people have been impacted by the violence and that number is expected to climb as high as 180,000.
“My thought is to urge Christian brothers and sisters to pray for those who are displaced and pray to God that these people cease from retaliation they are doing,” says Tang, who first came to the United States as a refugee. “We need to pray that God will touch the hearts of these people and bring peace and reconciliation.”