Be joyful in hope, patience in affliction and faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12)

To the churches and people of South Sudan,

Grace and peace from the God the creator and sustainer of all creation in the name of the Risen Lord Jesus the Christ from the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The WCC has received with shock and sadness news of the recent attack on Norwegian Church Aid vehicles in Imehejek, Lopa Lafon, in Eastern Equatoria region of South Sudan. Seven local staff who were attending a peace conference were reported killed. The fact that the victims were on a humanitarian mission and promoting peace and human dignity in their country makes this tragedy even more painful. This incident occurs against the background of several recent violent attacks, killings and increased inter-communal conflict in various parts of South Sudan.

The WCC condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack on civilians and humanitarian workers in South Sudan. In addition to the tragic loss of precious lives and the suffering of their families, such senseless violence undermines unity and the cause of peace and justice in South Sudanese communities that are already fragile. We commiserate with the families of the deceased, the South Sudan Council of Churches, Norwegian Church Aid and the churches and the South Sudanese people over the atrocity committed by those who carried out this evil act.

As people of faith, we are called to stand together in solidarity with one another, upholding each other in prayers, supporting those who are made vulnerable socially and economically, the displaced persons and those who have lost their means of livelihood due to crisis and disaster. We are frail and weak when we stand alone but strong and resilient when we stand together. I encourage the churches and South Sudanese people to stand together in the pursuit of justice, reconciliation and unity in these difficult times.

The WCC conveys its solidarity,support and prayer to all the churches and people of South Sudan as they seek to fulfil their essential ministry for justice, reconciliation, unity, and human dignity and rights at this difficult and dangerous moment in the life of the nation. We pray that you may experience the presence and the love of God even in the midst of these challenges.

May the blood of the Risen Lord wash away all hatred and suffering.

Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay

World Council of Churches general secretary