The Episcopal Church of South Sudan has denied any linked that result to deportation of two Bishops at Bor airport to Juba on chaos associated with disagreement.
The controversial dispute occurred at the airport immediately after they landed on Saturday, January 23. Security forced the church leaders to return back into aircraft citing their safety could not be granted.
“The two bishops refused to go back into the aircraft arguing that they did not understand the reason why they should go back to Juba. The aircraft left without them and later they were brought back on a vehicle to Juba,” ECSS stated.
Church leadership refuted an incident as issue with “no connection of wrangles over the power.”
Manyang Gabriel Kon worked for ECSS in Juba. He blamed security personnel for forcing two bishops to return to Juba upon their arrival in Bor. Gabriel said this is the third incident that has happened to ECSS bishops in Bor town
Emotional Photos of bishop and airport staff fighting went viral on social media platforms over the weekend. Photo shared shown the securities were blocking and pushing bishop back to the airport. And it was later denied.
Gabriel condemned the action. He said members of the ECS Church are being targeted by Jonglei State Capital Bor town’s security forces.
“It’s not clear to us because there were some people who wanted to attack Bishops, but they were going to Bor. To our surprise, the airport’s security personnel forced the Bishops and wanted to take them back to the airport”
“When you look at this situation, it’s not the one who is being attacked that’s harassed. However, the ones that are attacking them should be the ones being controlled, so this one is not clear to us why the officials in Bor are just targeting ECS workers in Bor,” said Manyang.
Police Commissioner Maj. Gen. Joseph Mayen said the security decision of ordering two bishops to return to Juba is to calm tension within the Church congregation.
He explained police department response came after tension increased among the youth at the airport during the bishops’ arrival.
They shouldn’t blame the government; instead, the government is giving them protection. They are supposed to cooperate with the government. The government has nothing with them; only what the government wants is the life of the civilians,” Mayen clarified.
Bishop of Jonglei Internal Province Archbishop Ruben Akurdit was seen having long term disputes with ECSS Primate Justine Badi, which triggered division within the Church.