June 04, 2021 — The South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) condemns the increasing extrajudicial killing of religious leaders and civilians especially in Equatorian region where at least two religious leaders and scores of civilians have been killed in a span of less than a month.
In a statement extended to Nyamilepedia by the Secretary of Information and Official spokesperson of the SSNMC, Wesley Kosa, the South Sudan National Movement for Change condemns the recent killing of a priest, a local sub-chief and four other civilians including a child in the strongest terms possible.
“The South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC), condemns in the strongest possible terms these senseless, Heinous, barbaric and cowardly act perpetrated by the Government of South Sudan against its own people whom it is supposed to protect. These acts amounts to the domestic terrorism” Reads part of SSNMC press statement.
Speaking to Nyamilepedia from British Columbia, Canada, Mr. Kosa, said Rev. Cosmas Kwaje Matayo and congregation of his church were killed by the SSPDF who stormed the Episcopal Church on Sunday, May 30th, 2021.
“As the congregation were running for their lives, the SSDF went after them and later killed three members of the congregation and a number of people are still missing. Those who were arrested, tortured and released, some are still at the highest health risk.” SSNMC spokesperson Wesley Kosa said.
The SSNMC calls on the international community, regional bloc and peace guarantors to pressurize the commander-in-chief of the SSPDF, President Salva Kiir, to hold his men in uniform accountable for such atrocities against innocent civilians.
“The South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC), would like to bring to the attention of International Community, Regional Bodies and Christian based Organizations that, on June 1st, 2021 the South Sudan Defense Forces ( SSDF) stormed Gumbiri Parish, Loka Archdeaconry, diocese of Lainya, Episcopal Church of South Sudan during the Sunday Service arrested and subsequently killed Rev. Cosmas Kwaje Matayo and four other members of Congregation namely, Simon Taban Elikima, Mr. Moses Wani Daniel (Church Elder and the area Sub-Chief), a headman Mr. Benjamin Laki Jibidayo and a ten year old Sunday School boy.” SSNMC stated.
“The SSNMC wish to appeal to the International Community and the Regional bodies particularly Intergovernmental Agency for Development ( IGAD) to break their silence, hold the Government of President Kiir accountable and bring justices to those innocent lives lost.” They added.
Announcing the death of his colleague on June 1st, 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.
Dr. Yugusuk condemned the senseless killing and called on the SSPDF to be held accountable
” 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.
Rev. Cosmas’ death came two weeks after the killing of Pastor Peter Lokai of African Inland Church of Torit who was lured out of the house by armed gunmen around 1am and shot several times.