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Exclusive: Aweil East County Commissioner threatens to close Catholic Church over ‘underground assets’

Juba, South Sudan,

June 18, 2021 – The Commissioner of Aweil East County in Northern Bhar-El-Ghazal State has ordered the leadership of Gordhim Catholic Mission to unearth some assets buried beneath the church by the Christian Missionaries within three days or risk closure of the church.

Exclusive: Aweil East County Commissioner threatens to close Catholic Church over ‘underground assets’
Aweil East County Commissioner Kiir Yor Lual (photo credit: Supplied)

An insider who spoke to Nyamilepedia on condition of anonymity said the Commissioner, Kiir Yor Lual, made the order to the Parish Priest Fr. Lino Piny Makuech.

The source said the assets in question remained buried in the office of the Parish Priest for decades, including through the period of the liberation struggle and some of the assets deemed less relevant were eventually relinquished.

“Some of the assets that were not useful were thrown in the pit latrine and others were burnt by the missionary experts except those that were buried in the church office,” the source told Nyamilepedia exclusively.

The assets, believed to be gold and copper, were reportedly buried by the missionaries to prevent the Arabs from having access to them. The information was revealed to one member of the Parish, Craddo Ajou Lual on the condition of confidentiality.

“They told him that never should you show these assets we have hidden until we come back or until when your country is peaceful,” the source revealed.

With assurance by the Christian Missionaries that the assets would be sold and used for the renovation and development of the church and other infrastructure, Mr. Ajou, now an elder – kept the secrets of the religious colonial group for decades.

“They also told him that the resources would be sold and used for the construction of schools and hospitals for the community and the church,” the source added.

But the secrets did not last for as long as it was expected as speculations on the hidden resources caught the attention of the community. On knowing this, the insider said, Commissioner Lual launched his own investigations into the hidden assets with threats against the Parish Priest.

“The greedy commissioner started threatening the priest in the parish for the removal of the assets but the priest refused and said we cannot do anything alone without Bishop’s acknowledgment and order for removal of these resources and the best way for you to do this is to contact the Bishop and inform him about it,” said the source.

On 13th May 2021, the commissioner held a closed-door meeting with Fr Lino Piny Makuech for three days to discuss ways on how to remove the underground resources. The meeting bore no positive outcome as the message of the priest remained consistent.

Mr. Lual then made a phone call to the Bishop, Mathew Remijio just to be told to cooperate with the community and the congregation of the Gordhim Catholic Mission.

Afraid of what the commissioner is capable of doing against the leadership of the parish, the catholic mission in Aweil East County has appealed to President Salva Kiir to intervene and source an amicable solution to the ongoing dispute.

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