By Ephraim Modi D.S
Fears and grief in Kajo-Keji County following the shooting of three men in Kiri Boma, Kajo-keji County at around 4:00PM on Thursday evening, 26th May, 2022 by South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDFs).
The soldiers reportedly went to the area and locals alerted them of a soldier who has been found dead.
Speaking from Kajo-Keji, the Acting Chairperson of the Kajo Keji Youth Association Kenyi Henry, told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that three young men were killed by the SSPDF in cold blood in the evening of Thursday in relation to a soldier who was found dead in the area, hanging on a tree.
“All I know is that, soldiers are the ones who killed these people, that’s one, secondly, the issue why they killed these people is because they have a man who have been killed,” Kenyi said.
According to Kenyi, the SSPDF soldier was found hanging on a tree in an area called Abaya, he stated that the soldier deserted the barracks in Abaya and was enjoying life on his own among the community before his death.
Kenyi further explained that the soldiers first landed and shot two men then their sister started to cry and the soldier threatened the sister to keep quiet to escape the bullets. The sister complied with them and later the soldiers took her with them.
“When the soldiers came, the first home where they landed in, is where they killed the two people because at first they killed two and their sister started to cry, then the soldiers said that if she is crying then they will also kill her, and then the sister kept quiet and they decided to take the sister with them till now the sister is still with them. The other one was killed along the road,” Kenyi stated.
He alleged that the soldiers might have taken several people beside the sister of the two victims to the barracks.
“I think they took her to the barracks because they came with a car, those are really organized soldiers, they came with the car for their mission,” he added
A victim tortured who feared to be identified by name, said that they were around the area when the army (soldiers0 arrested them and forced them to sit down then one of them voiced that they have slain three men.
“We were around the center of Kiri when the armed men came, surrounded us and commanded us to sit down, tortured us and told us that they have killed three men and told us that according to them if a soldier is killed like that, one hundred are supposed to be killed,” the victim said.
He also further revealed that when they were still trapped in where they were forced to be, the soldiers started amassing their IDs, Phones and their other belongings, and one of the soldiers just took off with his motorcycle. The victim said they threatened to kill him on questioning about the whereabouts of his motorcycle.
“They collected our IDs, Phones and other belongings so when I asked about my motorcycle and my other belongings, they threatened to also kill me if I am still following about my properties,” he said.
The incident has sent great fear among the population and according to the youth leader it is sending a bad signal towards the spontaneous return of people from the refugee camps.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Kajo-Keji Community Organization (KCO) Aggrey Tisa Sabuni condemned the behaviour of the soldiers, which he said the mandate of any soldier is to protect the people but not to kill.
He urged the people of Kajo-Keji County to remain calm and peaceful, while calling for justice towards the innocent souls.
The Central Equatoria Government (CEG) Committee under the Chairpersonship of Governor Emmanuel Adil has also condemned the killing and has called for calm, vigilance and patience, saying local population on ground should not panic.
Government has formed an investigation committee into the crime and tasked to investigate those behind the uncalled for behaviour and bring them to face justice.
This has not been the first time; civilians have been killed by soldiers. Previously, one the civilian was killed in Nyepo Payam, Kajo-Keji County by SSPDF soldier.
In addition, SSPDF have been arbitrarily arresting and detaining civilians in their barracks, including the Payam Administrator of Nyepo Payam who has been in detention in the army barracks since March this year.
Several other civilians, majority being youth are said to be in detention by the army with no or little access by their relatives.