South Sudan bishop-elect shot

South Sudan Bishop-elect

Pope Francis is praying for the Bishop-elect of Rumbek Catholic Diocese in South Sudan, who was wounded in an attack at his residence on Sunday night.

While the motive for the shooting is not clear, some have suggested that the attack may have been a warning for the Catholic Church to keep out of the political disputes in South Sudan.

The 43-year-old Fr Christian Carlassare was to become the world’s youngest Italian bishop on May 23.

The Italian-born priest, a Comboni Missionary, was in his bedroom when the gunmen entered his home.

“In the night at around 1 am, some people came at my door, and they were trying to enter. They shot at my door. When the door was open, I came out and asked what they wanted and then they started shooting low at my legs,” Fr Carlassare told local media.

The Bishop-elect has since been flown to Nairobi for treatment.

“You pray for me and pray and pray for the people of Rumbek. We also forgive those that commit these kinds of actions. We do not carry any grudges,” Fr Carlassare said.

South Sudan has been ravaged by civil war and epidemic hunger since gaining independence from Sudan in 2011.

The Director of the La Salle School of Rumbek, Brother Joseph Alak, recently told Vatican News, “There is no fighting at the moment. The truce is holding. We hope that the peace will hold for a long time. The lack of armed conflict is better than a return to war. The guns are silent, and we are hopeful for the future,” said Brother Alak.

David Shearer, the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), told the Security Council at the end of March 2021 that there was need to do more in South Sudan and to build on the gains already obtained.

Shearer told the Security Council that after his four-year tour of duty, he was confident that some progress was being made but more needed to be done.

Authorities in the capital of South Sudan’s Lakes State detained close to two dozen people the day after the shooting. Among them are police officers and priests.

All employees at the diocese offices, including watchmen, have been detained for questioning, said Lakes State police spokesperson Captain Elijah Mabor Makuac.

“We have arrested 20 people currently under our custody, including some of our police personnel who were assigned there. Also detained are priests and the staff of the diocese who were around the crime scene. Up to now, we are investigating the crime; we shall establish the motive very soon,” Makuac told VOA’s “South Sudan in Focus” program.


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