Warrap family faces imprisonment over religious violence
AUTHOR: Asunta Aluel | PUBLISHED: January 6, 2023
Malual-acot ECSS church lies in ashes on Thursday, January 5, 2023 | Credit | Courtesy
Three family members in Twic County, Warrap State, are facing jail terms over religious violence.
Religious violence is violence that is motivated by, or in reaction to, religious precepts, texts, or the doctrines of a target or an attacker, according to scholars. It includes violence against religious institutions, people, objects, or events.
Awar Garang is a believer in traditional African religion, for which he keeps shrines that he prays to.
On the other hand, his wife Akuet Deng Kur, 40, and daughter Ayak Awar, 15, are Christians. The two worship at Episcopal Church at Malual-acot in Wunrok Payam.
On Tuesday night, they allegedly decided to set ablaze Garang’s place of worship, claiming it was satanic.
In what police believe to be a retaliation, Garang walked over to the church’s grass-thatched building and burnt it down.
1st. Lt Michael Magar Ring, police crime officer in Wunrok, says three family members are now in police custody.
“If another person interferes the affairs of one’s religion, that person have to be arrested for violation. We consider that as a crime,” Magar told Mayardit FM on Friday.
Article 203 of the South Sudan Penal Code 2008 prohibits injuring or defiling place of worship.
It reads: “Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion…commits an offence, and upon conviction, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or with a fine or with both.”
Meanwhile, Priest Ngor Bol Deng confirmed to Mayardit FM the burning of the church, whose construction in 2020 cost 2 million South Sudanese Pounds.
“What happened is really bad, The mother and her children are our members in the church. My advice is that, if you are a member in this church, don’t go back home and destroy what you do not believe in,” Ngor added.