Kiir condemns Kajo-keji killing, calls for thorough investigation to hold perpetrators accountable

February 2nd 2023 was a dawn of sorrows and misery in the central Equatoria’s Yei County as herdsmen storm Kajo-keji Payam and opened fire killing nearly 20 people in the area
The killing in Kajo-keji occurred a day before Pope Francis’ Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace to South Sudan. The Pope first went on apostolic journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo 31st January 2023 through 2nd February before connecting on the Peace Pilgrimage to South Sudan.
Ahead of the Holy See, citizens across the country were at their best to welcome the Holy Father. The President of the Republic of South Sudan was also amongst those circumventing possible ways to offer the father of Faith a warm reception.
But a day before his arrival, news of attack on civilians in Kajo-keji involving cattle keepers and agriculturist in which over 20 people were killed on the spot stormed the social media.
However, this was not enough to suspend the long awaited visit of the Holy Father until Tuesday when the president wrote to express his sympathy for what he referred to as “Uncalled Violence”
In a letter dated 7th February 2023 and seen by CBN on the Office of the President, Republic of South Sudan’s social media platform, president Kiir expressed sadness over the killing incident citing that it occurred at a time when South Sudan needed Peace the most.
“This loss of lives occurred at a time when our country needed peace the most. It came at a time when the entire world was watching our preparation of welcoming His Holiness and the other two prominent Christian leaders for a historic Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Peace to our country” Reads part of the statement.
The president condemned the killing and urgently directed the law enforcement Agencies to aide a thorough investigation in which perpetrators of the killing will be held accountable
“It is on this basis that I strongly condemn the actions of the perpetrators of these crimes and urgently direct the Law Enforcement Agencies to thoroughly investigate what took place in Kajo-keji”
“This investigation must not amount to nothing. They must aim at holding the instigators and perpetrators of these heinous crimes accountable for their actions” the statement reads
This is not the first time attacks have been reported involving cattle keepers and local farmers in the Equatoria Region.
Previously cattle keepers stormed Abara boma in Iwire Payam and opened fire on the local population killing over 3 people. Similar cases have been reported in other parts of the region including Melijo, Lobonok and Ngangala areas leading to the death of innocent civilians. Jonglei and Central Equatoria State authorities were tasked with facilitating the return of cattles to their respective places
The president also repeated calls to the two leaders to vigorously facilitate the return of cattle to their respective places of origin.
“I’m directing the authorities in Jonglei and Central Equatoria States to swiftly ensure smooth facilitation of cattle herders’ relocation to their areas of origin.”
Kiir urged the bereaved communities to indulge in revenge as thus will drive them to commit further acts of violence. He told them to allow the law to take its course.