Kenyan Priest Killed in South Sudan
A Kenyan Jesuit priest, Father Victor Luke Odhiambo, 62, Director of the Teacher’s Training Centre in Gok State, has been shot and killed by armed men in South Sudan on Wednesday night, 14 November, the Gok State Information Minister John Madol has confirmed.
The circumstances surrounding the targeted killing of the priest are not clear however state officials said number of armed men stormed the compound where the priest resides and killed him.
Madol said the motive and group behind the killing is unclear but “one person has been arrested and is in custody. He will tell us who the other people involved,” the minister said.
The Gok State government “announced three days mourning. Everyone stays at home as we mourn the priest, they resume work on Monday (19 November). We, as the government will move his body to Western Lakes State, the headquarters of the church,” Madol said.
There have been recorded incidences of violence against Christian clergy in South Sudan. Last year, a Kenyan Bishop, Joel Mwendwa, was attacked and hacked to death by a Muslim youth in Juba for preaching too loudly during a morning prayers.
Meanwhile Bishop Hillary Luate Adeba of Yei, South Sudan, has called for sustainable peace in the young nation devastated by war. “I am very happy that we have finally received the peace agreement and I want to make an appeal to the leaders of this country whether being in the government or in the opposition to open a new chapter for true reconciliation and forgiveness so as to re-unit the social fabric of the people that has been broken as a result of the devastating conflict that left thousands killed, properties looted and millions forced into refugee camps.” Bishop Adeba said.
The Bishop stressed that “as a church we will not sit down and watch, we have been preaching for peace and reconciliation because we want our people to stay in peace so that they re-direct their efforts to regain their livelihoods and development” Adeba added.
Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN, and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos.