A Kenyan bishop was hacked to death in Juba, South Sudan on June 24 for preaching ‘too loudly’ during his morning prayers.
Bishop Joel Mwendwa was leading a congregation of Kenyans when his assailant described by police as “a boy” and a neighbour of his church along Bilpam Road in Munuki estate, Juba, killed him using a panga during the 6.30am prayers.
South Sudan police spokesman, Brigadier General Daniel Justin, confirmed the incident.
“As the congregation was going on with morning prayers, a man in the neighbourhood of the church walked to the front of the church with a machete and attacked the bishop. He slashed him several times before he fell down.
The suspect then ran to a nearby house from where police smoked him out. He confessed to committing the offence, claiming the bishop has been a nuisance to them with his morning prayers,” said Brigadier Daniel, adding that the boy will be arraigned in court to answer to murder charges.
Bishop Mwendwa, whose church had a congregation of over 3,000 faithful, hails from Wote in Makueni County and has been preaching in South Sudan for over 10 years. He leaves behind a widow and two children.
According to the Sudan Tribune, witnesses said the boy often smoked illicit substances and that the two started having differences when the bishop travelled back from Kenya only to find that he (boy) had stolen the church’s bamboo fence.
Tabitha Mutero, the director and organising secretary of Kenyans in South Sudan told The Nairobian that, “It is unfortunate the man of God was killed doing what he knows best. We condemn the act and appeal to the government through the ministry of Foreign Affairs to follow up on this matter with the South Sudan government”.
Mutero asked the government in Juba to take care of foreigners as it takes care of its people and complained that since January, 90 Kenyan drivers and conductors in addition to businessmen have lost their lives in South Sudan.
“In Kenya, we live with them as brothers and sisters, yet many Kenyans face untold challenges in the hands of the South Sudanese in their country,” she said.
Bishop Mwendwa’s body has since been flown home for burial.