Juba, South Sudan,
June 3, 2021 — A senior religious leader, Rev. Cosmas Kwaje Matayo, the priest of Gumbiri Parish in Diocese of Lainya of the Episcopal church of South Sudan has met a mysterious death in the hands of members of South Sudan People Defense Forces (SSPDF).
Announcing the death of Rev. Cosmas Kwaje, the Archbishop of the Central Equoria’s Internal Province and Bishop of Lainya Diocese, Dr. Paul P. Benjamin Yugusuk, confirms that the priest and four others were killed in cold blood by armed men identified as South Sudan People’s Defense Force.
In a recorded video extended to Nyamilepedia, Archbishop Dr. Benjamin said “it was very regretful to inform the public and all people of God about the unexpected murder” of his colleague Rev. Cosmas Kwaje who was arrested by the SSPDF and killed on 1st of June 2021 in Lainya.
” On behalf of Central Equatoria Internal Province, Diocese of Lainya and on behalf of the entire Christian of Central Equatoria Internal Province and the people of God, I regret to inform you all that today 1st June 2021 the South Sudan Defense Forces SSPDF arrested and killed Rev. Cosmas Kwaje Matayo, a parish priest of Gumbiri Parish, Loka Archdeaconry, Diocese of Lainya, Episcopal Church of South Sudan in a cold blood” , Rev. Yugusuk said.
He also confirmed that Late. Rev. Cosmas Kwaje was arrested while presiding over church service on Sunday 30th of May 2021 with four other church members identified as Simon Taban, a ten year Sunday school, Moses Wani a church elder, who doubles also as sub-chief, church elder Benjamin Laki and Mary Gaba Henry whose whereabout is still not known.
Dr Yugusuk further accused SSPDF of committing crimes in the area such as looting civilian’s properties and burning of their homes.
“They looted Goats, chicken, cloths, and cash on Kuturjo residential areas and burnt houses in Loka Round in Longera and in areas of Darape, Lokirarat, Nyaporo, Kengwe, Rego and Lomilikin”, Archbishop Dr. Yugusuk further stressed.
Dr. Yugusuk also reported that the army has arrested and tortured a large of youth in various villages of Central Equatoria state for reasons that are yet to be established.
“The SSPDF also arrested; thirteen (13) Youths in Rudu, eleven (11) of whom were release 2day after serious beating even at hospital bed, businessmen David Boso, Ojas Lokule Stuart and Lomoro Lo-Bonjin in Lainya town and are not released to date” he added.
While conveying his condolences to friends, church community and the family of deceased, Rev. Yugusuk appealed to SSPDF Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Santino Deng Wol, to investigate the killing and apprehend perpetrators responsible for murder.
South Sudan is the only country in the world where religious leaders are seriously targeted this year. At least two Bishops have been killed by armed men within the last two months and another bishop survived in a critical condition.