We, at Reaching Africa’s Unreached, cannot thank you all enough for all your prayers and and words of encouragement! Only the Lord knows the full effect of your intercession (2 Corinthians 1:11) for this conflict and all who are involved in it! We have the added blessing of receiving Kevin Turner on Thursday the 18th. He will spend a week with us.
We have had some sad and tension filled days here in Afoji beginning on Monday, September 15th. What was meant to be a peaceful protest march on Monday morning, a response to an earlier incident which happened across the border in South Sudan, turned violent. The March proceeded from Moyo and went to the Afoji border post which is down the road a couple of kilometers from us. On the march back to town, homes (tukalus), businesses and a grass thatched Anglican (Church of Uganda – COU) church (within walking distance of us) were burned down. [Because of this we pushed back to a later date the pastor’s retreat we were going to have here this week. We had 6 pastors from D.R. Congo and 14 pastors from Koboko and Maracha scheduled to be with us.] No harm was done here at RAU, but one of our faithful workers and friends, Zakeo, who is a native Ma’di, had two of the places he rents out in the Afoji market burned down.
On Tuesday the tension increased. Throughout the day Kukus fled to South Sudan with whatever they could carry. In Moyo town there were riots, tear gas, and bullets. An attempt to burn the police station was, thankfully, foiled. Ugandan soldiers/police and SPLA (South Sudan) forces mobilized head to head on the border.The SPLA’s purpose was, allegedly, to cross over the border to “help bring their people (Kukus) safely back” into South Sudan. Throughout the day, many Ugandan soldiers passed our way to the border. By the end of the day we saw them heading back towards Moyo town to their barracks. We are very grateful that calm minds prevailed…PTL! The police and army forces did well in helping to keep the violence to a minimum.
I had a good talk earlier on this Wednesday morning with one of the men (military police) who was on the compound all night. He and his coworker faithfully watch over us and the compound each night and we had three of them with us on Tuesday afternoon as a precaution. The police officer reported that the stand off at the border had calmed down between Ugandan soldiers/police and SPLA (South Sudan) forces. Keep praying that the lull in activity is a sign of improvement and not just a regrouping.
Though it was quiet here at RAU, during the night, some more homes were burned down in Moyo and one person died in a struggle. Currently, in our neighboring villages, there are very few people left. Ma’dis have gone to stay in Moyo (or other places further away from the wrangle) fearing that the SPLA may cross the border and seek revenge; the Kukus have left for South Sudan fearing reprisals from the Ma’dis. This morning truckloads of people and their belongings are passing by from Moyo to South Sudan. The flow past RAU is incessant. Yesterday, most of the people, including children, were just taking what they could carry. Today, trucks have been coming from South Sudan in convoy fashion to pick up people and belongings that were too big or numerous to carry.
Please focus your prayers on God bringing right thinking and right hearts in the two tribes, the Ma’di (Ugandan) and Kuku (South Sudanese). They have interacted for many years but tribalism is deeply rooted in their hearts and the hurts and wrongs on both sides are not easily forgotten….only the Lord can heal their hearts! “The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart” (H. Krabbendam)! Please keep praying!
Tensions are still very high. Leaders from both sides are meeting. This Ugandan TV report gives some background to the conflict:
We would like to be a part of helping the Afoji Church of Uganda congregation rebuild it’s burned down church. Helping in this time of need is a great evidence of Christ’s love for them and an encouragement that they are not standing alone. Please pray for these believers and all who are suffering because of this conflict. If you specifically want to help this church please make a notation of it on your gift.