The Bishop-elect of Rumbek Catholic Diocese has been shot and wounded in both legs by unknown gunmen.
About 24 suspects have so far been arrested by the police. Radio Tamazuj spoke with the acting minister of Information and Communication, William Kocji Kerjok who condemned the assassination attempt on Father Christian Carlassare, the Bishop-elect.
He said Fr. Carlassare was wounded in both legs by the gunmen who entered his room last night and is now receiving medication in Rumbek State hospital. "This case is so special and we are treating it as politics within the Catholic Church itself,” Minister Kocji said. “And this one of the Bishop seems to be something within his administration because he is very new to the place and he has no problem with anyone but he was shot on target.”
“Those guys came directly to his room...Almost 13 bullets were shot at him. And later when they managed to get in they told him to sit down and they shot at his legs. So, they did not intend to kill him but I think they were intending to scare him. So we are saying, the leadership of the Catholic Church should be answerable for this. And that is why the government is arresting almost everybody there so that they are held accountable for this,” he added.
The Diocesan Coordinator of Rumbek Catholic Diocese, Father John Mathiang Machol, condemned the attack.
“We were woken up by the cry and sound of gunfire. We went there and we found the Bishop was shot in both legs and the criminals ran away. We took the Bishop to Rumbek Hospital for treatment until now we are in the Hospital with him,” Fr. Mathiang said.
He said that Fr. Carlassare's condition is stable and that he will be transferred to Juba by a Red Cross plane and from there to Nairobi for further treatment.
According to The Association for Catholic Information in Africa (ACI-Africa) the injured cleric is in a stable condition, and plans are underway to airlift him to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, through the services of the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF). (above excerpt from Radio Tamazuj)
AMECEA excerpt: Pope Francis Msgr. Carlassare, a member of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ) on Monday, March 8, for Rumbek diocese that has been vacant for nearly a decade after the death of Bishop Cesare Mazzolari in 2011.
The Italian-born Bishop-elect was ordained to priesthood 16 years ago and has been in South Sudan since 2005 serving in various capacities including among others being a parish priest, vocations promoter and provincial councilor of the Comboni Missionaries.