West & Central Africa

Priest tortured and killed in South Sudan

Barely a day after president Salva Kiir, called for national prayers and asked God to forgive him and bring a turn around in South Sudan, reports from Yei say that government soldiers kidnapped, tortured and killed a priest.

Witnesses said that the Rev Simon Kwajie, priest of All Saints and Martyrs Church, was taken on 5 March by security  forces speaking in the Dinka language who said “they just wanted to talk to him about something”.

Mr Kwajie’s relatives said his body when recovered showed signs of torture and bruising. After the kidnapping, Kwaije had not been heard from for five days and relatives believed the army wanted his help.

“This is really a total shock, how do you kidnap and torture and murder a priest?…I thought the president said it was time for peace?…this is more than abomination” said Joseph Taban, a citizen from Juba who had attended the National Day of Prayers called by Kiir.

The killing of Simon Kwajie has raised a lot of questions and concern in Yei and South Sudan. The credibility of the national day has been tainted by the murder.

There has not yet been any reaction from president Kiir over the murder nor the Catholic Archbishop of South Sudan Bishop Paulino Lokudu who had warned President Silva Kiir of the repercussions of bringing the people to pray in the hot sun if his prayer and repentance were not genuine.