Stories of Hope from South Sudan

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A Story of Survival

John Loikoira, RPI’s student elected class chair for 2012, arrived at RECONCILE a few months after his community was attacked as a result of inter-ethnic revenge fighting.  An estimated 600 people were killed and 170,000 affected by the violence.  His story is recorded below:

“…remember that attack of December. That time my wife was pregnant, and it was almost the time that she was to deliver.”  John explained that when attackers reached his Payam, his wife, children and uncle fled to the bush while he remained in the town of Pibor.  “After two days, I received news that (my) wife has delivered in the bush where there was no water, no food, and delivery was very hard… I decided that, you know, you cannot flee from death if it is your time. So, I said that it is better that I bring them here.  If we die all, it is now our day.  If our day has not come, so we will not die… We put our trust in God and just hoped.  I told them, let us just go to the town.”

Upon arriving in town, John and his family entered the UNIMISS camp.  “Then the following day it was on Sunday, (the attackers) came, and they started killing people around the town…  Of course, SPLA and UNIMISS protected only the town, but the surrounding villages of the town, they were just shooting, killing people…. Some of them knew where those people were taking refuge…  They went there.  Then they killed people (from) where I brought my children.

It was a very bad time for us. A lot of children reported their parents died. I was moving with UNIMISS collecting those people who were wounded in the bush.  We saw a lot of dead bodies around.”

When asked his reason for coming to RECONCILE, John explained: “I decided to come for the training because, even if people are fighting; we need peace… I wanted also to get together with the friends, people who are coming from the different tribes, so we are able to know exactly who is also working for peace��������������������������������� When we are many, and we are able to join ourselves and to train these young men, so we will be able to bring about peace…  We are hoping, that in doing all this, training communities, they will be changed.  But we hope in God.  God is not going to allow such calamities for life, forever… God will give us peace, and this is our hope.”

John Lokoira and Family