Bishop-designate Christian Carlassare, who was shot by gunmen in Rumebek, South Sudan, speaks from a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, in a video message posted April 28 on Twitter. CNS photo/Comboni Missionaries

Priests charged in bishop’s shooting

By 
  • May 5, 2021

VATICAN CITY -- Gunmen broke into the home of the bishop-designate of Rumbek, South Sudan, shot him in both legs and fled, according to Church news reports, with three local priests among the 12 people arrested for their possible involvement in the attack April 26.

Local reports say lay members of the local church community were also among those arrested.

Italian-born Bishop-designate Christian Carlassare, 43, was in stable condition after emergency surgery.

“Do not pray for me but for the people of Rumbek who are suffering more than me,” said the bishop-designate, who is a Comboni missionary, in a statement.

Carlassare had arrived in Rumbek April 16 after serving as vicar general of the Diocese of Malakal since 2020. Fr. James Oyet Latansio, general secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches, told Catholic News Service April 27 that three priests had been arrested in connection with the incident. They are suspected to have been part of the network and conspiracy that led to the priest’s attack.

The priests’ arrest followed the extraction of records from a mobile phone that one of the assailants had dropped while fleeing the residence. The last call on the phone was from a priest and the words, in the Dinka ethnic dialect, were “where is his room,” said Oyet.

Oyet said church officials suspect that one of the local priests wanted to be the bishop of the diocese.

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