He continued, “I know there are a lot of problems here and there in the country, but if leaders who are supposed to be the salt in the midst of what is happening in South Sudan are targeted, then we are dealing with a dry wood and wet together.”
On his part, the Catholic Bishop of Malakal Diocese described the attack on the Bishop-elect as part of the insecurity in the East-Central African country.
In an interview with ACI Africa, Bishop Stephen Nyodho said, “This is real insecurity because you cannot be targeted in your room, leave alone being in the compound or on the road. If somebody tries to kill you in your own room, where could you be secure, to bury ourselves in the tomb or where?”
“The security of everybody in South Sudan, not just the Church personnel should be paramount to the government; everybody should be secure in his own country and nobody should be afraid that something will happen to him or her,” he added during the April 26 interview.
He implored, “I pray for the people of Rumbek, to call God in their hearts, especially for the conversion especially for those who are doing these evil acts and for all the faithful that the Lord may give them strength.”
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The Bishop of South Sudan’s Tombura-Yambio Diocese described the attack on Msgr. Carlassare as an “act of malice and barbarism.”
In his message published by Ruru Gene newsletter of the South Sudanese Diocese, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala said, “We strongly condemn this act of malice and barbarism and ask all of us to hold on together during this difficult moment of a challenge as we uphold those values that hold Christians during troubles; among them love, solidarity, care, unity, forgiveness, and patience.”
On behalf of the people of God under his pastoral care and on his own behalf, Bishop Hiiboro expresses his “sincere closeness and solidarity with the Bishop-elect.”
Following the attack on the Bishop-elect, at least a dozen people, including three members of the Clergy of Rumbek Diocese, have been arrested in connection with the April 26 early morning shooting.
Speaking to ACI Africa on condition of anonymity, a source said that the security officials handling the case in South Sudan’s Lakes State are following leads from “a cell phone” found at the scene of the crime alongside the phone of one of the Catholic Priests, which the security officers confiscated.
Besides the three Clerics, the security officers also arrested “other prominent lay personalities in the Diocese of Rumbek,” the source told ACI Africa April 26, adding that 12 people are being linked to the “physical evidence of the cell phone found where the Bishop-elect was shot.”
The arrests follow the directive from the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, for “an expeditious investigation” to identify, apprehend, and prosecute the perpetrators of “this heinous crime.”
In an ACI Africa video recording from his hospital bed at The Nairobi hospital Tuesday, April 27, Bishop-elect Msgr. Carlassare reassured the people of God in Rumbek that he is out of danger and that he plans to return to the South Sudanese Diocese.
“I take the chance to greet all of you, my brothers and sisters, in Rumbek. I want you to be at peace to know that I’m well here in the hospital in Nairobi,” Msgr. Carlassare said, adding that he is receiving good medical care, and he is improving.