Joseph Kiri, national youth coordinator for the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, has died after being shot while traveling to Yei.
Thousands of young people gathered at Kiri’s home Sept. 27 to pay their respects for the youth worker and evangelist. Kiri was killed just days after Archbishop Justin Badi Arama, Primate of South Sudan, said a peace deal should become peace on the ground.
In addition to his work with the church, Kiri worked as a nutrition officer for ACROSS, a church-based humanitarian organization. He was shot near the village of Limbe, a few kilometers away from Yei, when unknown gunmen targeted his NGO vehicle. He was traveling to Yei to deliver field reports for ACROSS.
Elisama Wani Daniel, executive director of ACROSS, said that Kiri died instantly after being shot in the chest as the vehicle was sprayed with bullets. His driver managed to escape and ran to a military base at Limbe. Soldiers rushed to the scene of the attack and recovered Kiri’s body.
Archbishop Arama wrote on Twitter that he and his wife, Mama Joyce, were “deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the Provincial Youth Coordinator, Joseph Kiri, in an ambush on Lainya-Yei road yesterday.”
He added: “Our prayers are with his family. We ask all parties to respect the ceasefire.”
Adapted from Kenyi Dube in Juba for ACNS,
with reporting by Gavin Drake in London