By Mary Poni
At least 20 people are confirmed dead and scores are critically wounded as cattle keepers launched attack on unarmed civilians in Kajo-Keji County of Central Equatoria State.
This was revealed by the Archbishop of Central Equatorial State Internal Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, Dr. Paul Pitia Yugusuk during a press briefing at his residence in Juba.
According to the cleric, he learned of the incident which left eighteen men and two women dead, and scores in critical condition from local authorities in Kajo-Keji with a heavy heart.
Pitia called on the State and national government to urgently intervene in the ongoing killing and displacement of civilians in Kajo-Keji County by armed cattle herders suspected to be from Bor yesterday.
“We want to condemn this barbaric killing of our innocent civilians. I call upon the government, specifically the government of Central Equatoria State including, President Kiir to intervene immediately to protect our people and to bring those who have committed this heinous crime to book,” he appealed.
Archbishop Pitia further called upon the humanitarian agencies to intervene immediately and support about 3,000 IDPs who are currently camping in Kimu ECSS church compound in Mere town of Kajo-Keji County.
“Let the government and the humanitarian agencies act fast to rescue the people,” he emotionally appealed.
The Arch Bishop said it is absurd that this incident happens at a time when Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland is in the country.
“The moderator of the Presbyterian has already arrived in the country and it is a time that we are looking forward to receiving our Pope. But it is unfortunate that our own people are killing each other,” Pitia lamented.
“I therefore request our Holy Father Pope Francis, the Archbishop of the Canterbury, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland to pray for the families and relatives of those who have been killed,” Pitia further pleaded.
“As you visit this country and as you have been received in Juba with Jubilation and celebration, I beg you to remember the people of Kajo-Keji and the relatives of those who have been killed,” Dr. Pitia further entreated.
“May God bless us abundantly and bring peace to the country,” he prayed.
Archbishop Pitia noted that the church had previously held a reconciliation conference between the citizens of Kajo-Keji and a visiting delegation that compromised of Central Equatoria State and Jonglei State government representatives. “We as the church, held a peace and reconciliation conference in Kajo-Keji with a delegation from both the states of Central Equatoria and Jonglei just the day before yesterday,” he wondered.