Two Suspects in Shooting of Bishop-elect in South Sudan Freed for “lack of evidence”

Justice Alexander Sebur Subek reading out the decision of the High Court during the Wednesday, 2 March 2022 session. Credit: Otto Abut/CRN

Two of the six suspects in the case of the shooting of Mons. Christian Carlassare, the Bishop-elect for the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek in South Sudan, have been freed because of what the judge has termed “lack of evidence against them.”

Justice Alexander Sebur Subek who read out the decision of the High Court during the Wednesday, March 2 session announced the release of “20-year-old Mangok Chol and 30-year-old Gabriel Deng Dut”.

In a Catholic Radio Network (CRN) report about the ongoing case that was first mentioned on January 26, Justice Sebur Subek says, in reference to the two suspects, the court “has released them under 226 criminal procedures for lack of evidence against them.”

He adds, “The other four accused were charged with sections 48,55,59,72,334 and 208 Penal Code 2008 and they will be tried according to this section respectively.”

In the CRN March 2 report, Justice Sebur Subek reminded the court that “accused number five and number six confessed being guilty and Fr. John Mathiang and Samuel Makiir denied being guilty.”


“Up to now, it is not an end of course, at the end of the day when the court is delivering the verdict, it will be according to what evidence is produced, maybe some will go free and others will be convicted,” Justice Sebur Subek has been quoted as saying. 

Addressing journalists shortly after his release, Mr. Deng said he was “accused for no reason.”

He added that he plans to return to Rumbek Diocese to “serve Bishop-elect, Monsignor Christian Carlassare who will be consecrated on 25 March 2022.”

The case was adjourned to March 14.

In a Tuesday, March 1 letter addressed to “All Bishops, Priests, Religious, and Laity” in South Sudan, the Apostolic Administrator of Rumbek Diocese, Bishop Matthew Remijio, announced that Mons. Carlassare is to be consecrated Bishop on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, March 25.

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The member of the Comboni Missionaries who was appointed Bishop for Rumbek Diocese 8 March 2021 was to be consecrated last Pentecost Sunday, 23 May 2021. The event was postponed indefinitely following the 26 April 2021 incident when he was shot in both legs.

After receiving specialized treatment at The Nairobi Hospital in Kenya, Mons. Carlassare relocated to his native country of Italy.

Last week, Bishop Remijio appointed a committee to prepare for the Episcopal Ordination of Mons. Carlassare, which the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen, had said would take place in 2022

Rumbek Diocese became vacant in July 2011 following the sudden death of Bishop Caesar Mazzolari, an Italian-born member of the Comboni Missionaries.

Fr. Fernando Colombo, a confrere of the late Bishop, governed the South Sudanese Diocese as Diocesan Administrator until 27 December 2013, when Fernando Cardinal Filoni, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed Fr. Mathiang Diocesan Coordinator.


Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.