The village, in the southeast corner of the world’s newest nation, is home to a Church of Christ, a preacher training school and a medical clinic overseen by The Sudan Project, a ministry of the Mt. Juliet Church of Christ in Tennessee.
Many of the church members in Pajok fled months ago to refugee camps in Uganda — the same camps where they became Christians during Sudan’s long civil war that ended with South Sudan’s independence in 2011.
Images captured by a lab technician from the church-run clinic show additional waves of refugees walking from Pajok south to the Ugandan border — just hours before the attack.
In July, after clashes between government forces and rebels loyal to the country’s ousted vice president, rebel soldiers took control of Pajok, also known as Parajok, and nearby communities — and forcibly recruited males age 15 and up into their army, said Don Humphrey, The Sudan Project’s director.
As Christians fled to refugee camps, the ministry temporarily closed the preacher-training program but left the clinic open.
Villagers flee from Pajok to Uganda.After the Monday attack, Reuters reported from a refugee camp in Uganda:
“If you ran, you got shot; if you got arrested, you got slaughtered,” said 35-year-old Lokang Jacky. “There were women who got shot. We just slept in the bush and then at 6 this morning we started walking.”
Tony Aborra, a 42-year-old peasant farmer, had to be carried to Uganda on the back of a bicycle due to a bullet lodged in his right heel.
“It was a stray bullet, maybe a kilometre away,” he said, grimacing as he unwound the handkerchief bandage around the wound.
Nurse Margaret Alloyo said the (military) forces attacked the town’s hospital, ransacking wards and medical supplies while taking staff hostage.
“We just ran,” Alloyo said. “I spoke to a colleague at the hospital, but she said she had been detained. I don’t know what has happened to her. Now the calls do not go through.”