A Slovak nun shot and wounded in Yei, South Sudan, died on May 20 at a hospital in Nairobi. Holy Spirit Missionary Sister Veronika Terezia Rackova, director of St Bakhita Medical Center in Yei, was evacuated to Nairobi on May 17, shortly after the nighttime shooting. She had been in a coma before her death.
Outside the intensive care unit at the hospital, Sister Maria Jerly, regional superior for the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, told Catholic News Service (CNS) that Sister Rackova was shot as people marked John Garang Day. She said Sister Rackova was driving an ambulance after taking an expectant mother to the hospital when the vehicle was shot by soldiers patrolling the area. Sister Rackova was shot in the stomach, Sister Jerly said. She added that a motive for the shooting was not known.
Three soldiers were arrested in connection with the incident, and Sister Jerly added, “One of them is said to have admitted having shot at Sister Rackova.”
Six of the order’s nuns are serving in South Sudan, mainly in the Yei Diocese. Sister Jerly told CNS the congregation did not plan to leave the area.
“On the contrary, we would like to continue giving services to the needy people of this great country of South Sudan,” she said, adding, “Some of our sisters are right now tormented over the incident, but we plan to continue to carry our badly needed services by the needy people of this country.”
Sister Jerly said Sister Rackova would be buried in Kenya, and that the Divine Word Fathers, the sisters’ male counterparts in Kenya, would handle the arrangements.