JUBA – A South Sudan rebel group has said that it is outraged by last week’s killing of worshipers including a parish priest in the country’s Central Equatoria state allegedly by members of the South Sudan People’s Defense Force (SSPDF).
In a statement, however, army spokesman Major General Lul Ruai Koang refused to admit or deny the responsibility and despite announcing an investigation by the army into the killing, it said “picking up and gruesome killings bore hallmarks of NAS’ clandestine activities in Greater Lainya County.”
In a statement this afternoon, the Equatoria People’s Alliance (EPA) led by Dr. Hakim Dario said it is “deeply outraged beyond expression by the South Sudan Peoples’ Defense Force (SSPDF) latest atrocities and gross violation of Human Rights against innocent civilians in Equatoria at Lainya.”
“The Most Rev Dr. Paul Benjamin Yugusuk, the Archbishop of Central Equatoria Internal Province and Bishop of the Diocese of Lainya, issued a statement on 3rd June 2021 accusing the SSPDF of executing four innocent civilians, including a 10-year old Sunday school boy Simon Taban Elekima, Rev Kosmas Kwaje Matayo (Gumbiri Parish Priest), Mr. Moses Wani Daniel (Church elder and area Sub-Chief) and Mr. Benjamin Laki Jibidayo (Headman) all of whom the SSPDF arrested and detained on 1st June 2021.
“We condemn this latest massacre of innocent civilians in Equatoria in the most strongest of terms and hold President Salva Kiir, SSPDF Commander in Chief, personally responsible and accountable for these egregious genocidal crimes against innocent civilians and clergy. EPA calls for his [President] indictment with crimes against humanity and systemic commission of genocide against innocent civilians in Equatoria by those in the chain of command acting under his orders to SSPDF.
“The failed R-TGONU under President Salva Kiir is without legitimacy, the sooner that the TROIKA, AU and IGAD take punitive action or measures to withdraw recognition and support for this murderous SPLM regime in Juba, the more likely it is to salvage the country from free-fall and descent into a total messy disintegration.
“By admission of the signatory parties, R-ARCSS has failed in letter and spirit, the people now demand for a new democratic dispensation in the country without SPLM in charge, to rebuild the country’s broken social fabric through a people-driven permanent constitution making process.”