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Jul 14, 2016

All Safe In Ibba, Despite Conflict In Juba


Dear friends,

Many of you will have heard in the media over the past week of the further outbreak of violence in Juba the capital of South Sudan, with the senseless loss of hundreds of lives. 
 
This brief note is just to reassure you that, mercifully, Ibba has not been affected by this violence, that the students and staff are all safe, and that the school has been able to continue with its planned programme of teaching and learning as usual. (See their courageous messages below)

The school continues to employ security staff to guard and patrol its gated compound round the clock, keeping the girl students and staff protected; and we are keeping closely in touch with key contacts across the country for updates on the situation as it unfolds.
 
A ceasefire has now been signed (again) by the warring parties in Juba and so far this seems to be holding. However, the violence has taken its toll. One of the school’s key founding governors, Bishop Wilson Kamani, has been very concerned for the safety of his family living in Juba, and they had to go without food for 4 days (see his e-mail below). Carol and Nigel Weallans from Nottingham (who have been working in Ibba on behalf of CMS Ireland) have been air-lifted out to Arua, in Uganda, until it becomes clearer how the situation develops. And one of FIGS UK Trustees, Dr Pamela Lomoro, tragically lost both her uncle (who was caught in cross-fire) and a close friend who was killed in the Juba shootings.

This is a further indication of the failure so far of the country’s Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) to act in the national interest, integrate the two armies, control the disparate militias, and re-establish security and the rule of law to provide protection and security to all its citizens – and then to develop a stable economy and an inclusive democratic process.

We know from the history of peace-building after conflict (e.g Northern Ireland, South Africa, Iraq) how hard but necessary it is to make the transition from military to civilian rule, and to establish a sense of common national purpose which can harness all the different conflicting interests behind a strategy for physical, political economic and social development for the whole country (as Gordon Brown, UN special envoy for education, has argued so powerfully).

We are just grateful that in this period of continued volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity and powerlessness, Ibba Girls School can continue to act as a small beacon of hope, and as a small practical example of what peace would look like in South Sudan.

Please keep them all in our thoughts and prayers.

John

Chair of Trustees

 

Vicky Dratia, Director of Studies, e-mailed on Monday to say 

“Warm greetings from us here in Ibba Girls School. Though the security situation in Juba the capital city is scaring, Western Equatoria is still calm. Santino made several calls this morning and afternoon in order to ascertain the security situation in Western Equatoria  and to determine our safety. The feed back he received indicates that all is still. We pray that what is happening in Juba does not spread to us here.”

Agnes Ozitiru, Primary 5 class teacher e-mailed on Monday  

“We are really praying for peace for this country. We have been sad for the bad situation. Be blessed. Greetings to the rest of the members and friends.”

Fabiano Kumbawote, Primary 4 class teacher e-mailed on Tuesday 

“Our situation in Ibba is good, no gunshots; but our only problem is on the way to Yambio where there are some wrong elements who want to steal things from people. Our school is running now so smoothly with all its facilities and the building of the new dorm is almost finishing.
 
"So I want to update you about the academic performance of the 40 newly girls as P4 classteacher. So in this term I have seen great changes in their understanding and spoken language, because they are able now to debate with other classes. Therefore we are working together with all the teaching staffs to build up these girls so that they can be able to reach the standard of being in Ibba Girls boarding school.”

Bishop Wilson Kamani, Ibba Diocese, e-mailed on Tuesday

“Dear John, Thank you so much for your continued concern and prayer for this country. Our country is now in chaos but by God's grace people are pushing. Thanks be to God because your prayer has been answered because cease-fire was declared yesterday by the both sides. After four days without proper food to eat, my wife managed this morning to go to a nearby market to look for what to eat. It is our prayer that let the cease-fire continue to be respected.”

Bishop Wilson Kamani, Ibba Diocese, e-mailed on Tuesday

“Dear John, Thank you so much for your continued concern and prayer for this country. Our country is now in chaos but by God's grace people are pushing. Thanks be to God because your prayer has been answered because cease-fire was declared yesterday by the both sides. After four days without proper food to eat, my wife managed this morning to go to a nearby market to look for what to eat. It is our prayer that let the cease-fire continue to be respected."

Category: School Bulletins
Posted by: totality
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