Jonah Mariel Mabeny/Photo: Adia Jildo
By Adia Jildo
The fourth and the last witness in the shooting of the bishop- elect of Rumbek Catholic Diocese’s case has testified in the court.
Jonah Mariel Mabeny, a 37 year old former youth coordinator in the church and a police officer working in Rumbek told the court that the first accused Fr. John Mathiang had asked him to write a letter to Rome for his consideration as the Bishop of Rumbek Diocese.
Jonah said he was called in front of the youth and told to write to Pope that they wanted Fr. John Mathiang in the position of a Bishop.
He agreed to write the letter after Santino Mawut and Peter Ring convinced him, he said the letter was later edited by Fr. John Mathiang.
“After a while, the Ambassador for Kenya and South Sudan replied telling me that he received a letter and would be coming to Rumbek to see the situation” he said.
Jonah claimed that John Mathiang had told the youth to also write demanding for a local bishop adding that they would not cooperate, if a foreigner was brought into the Diocese.
“Don’t write the name of a foreigner. Write the name of a Dinka priest” he narrated.
The witness stated that the first accused Fr. John Mathiang in September 2011, had told the youth about his interest to be a bishop.
On 22nd December 2011, John is claimed to have visited Jonah in his home alongside Peter Ring Ariik and Santino Mawun Koch for the same purpose.
Jonah narrated, before the appointment of the bishop elect, “Fr. Mathiang said a priest by the name Don Bosco a director for Good news must be killed, and we asked him why? He said nothing good will come if he is around”.
He said they were told to switch off the light and hit the priest on the head when it got dark which they refused.
Jonah said reports reached them after Fr. John Mathiang was beaten in Kenya 6 months ago after the beating of Priest Don Bosco in Rumbek.
“At that time, foreigners started scattering because of fear,” he said.
Jonah said he was later accused by Fr. John Mathiang for not being beside him.
He told the court that he had heard death threat from Fr. John Mathiang when he went to visit a sick father known as Erneo Manyuok on the 13th April 2021.
“Get out of here, I don’t want to see you, I asked why, I have not yet handed over to you this church. You were the people who were pushing for the white man,” he narrated how Fr. John Mathiang chased him out of the room.
He said the first accused also threatened him, stating that he would have left the church into ashes.
Jonah claimed that he reported the threat to the National Security.
He later went to the Director of C.I.D. Brigadier Mathiang Bol who disapproved his statement against Fr. John Mathiang.
Jonah Mariel Mabeny was fired by Fr. John Mathiang on 27th November 2017 from the youth’s office.
He said he was not surprised by the shooting of the bishop elect since there was already a struggle for position by Fr. John Mathiang.
The defense lawyer Malith Jokthiang however said that they were pleased by the court procedure which was free and fair.
“There was nothing fishy in the proceedings. It was free and fair. And the judge himself is aware that we have educated the court about the situation of the church” he said.
Malith Jokthiang said that they were able to give information that was necessary for the court proceedings.
“People who have the appearance of evidence will be charged and it is from there now the defense will come up with the defense mechanism” he assured.
The statement of the accused will be taken on Monday 21st February 2022.