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Bishop-elect in South Sudan shot, in stable condition

Christian Carlassare

Missionari Comboniani

Zelda Caldwell - published on 04/26/21

Armed men shot Fr. Christian Carlassare several times in what witnesses say was a targeted attack.

Armed gunmen shot the Bishop-elect of South Sudan’s Rumbek Diocese on Sunday night, according to a report by ACI Africa that was published by Catholic News Agency.

Fr. Christian Carlassare, MCCJ, is recovering from his wounds and is in stable condition according to the report. He was appointed bishop on March 8, filling an almost decade-long vacancy.

Witnesses described the attack as targeted, according to the ACI Africa report.

“The incident happened at 12:45 last night. I heard the Father (Bishop-elect) shouting,” Fr. Andrea Osman of Rumbek Diocese, who was in his room next door to Carlassare when the shooting occurred, told ACI Africa.

“The two people were armed. I tried to knock the door of my door from inside so that I can scare them away, but they didn’t seem bothered,” Fr. Andrea said.

South Sudan has been plagued by unrest since a civil war which has killed more than 400,000 people began in 2013. 

Pope Francis made headlines in 2019 when he invited two of the country’s opposition leaders to a spiritual retreat at the Vatican.

The pope was filmed falling to his hands and knees to kiss the shoes of the leaders.

“I’m asking you with my heart,” the pope said to the president, Salva Kiir, and the opposition leader, Riek Machar, clutching his hands in front of his chest. “Stay in peace.”

The bishop-elect was expected to be air-lifted to Nairobi, Kenya to receive treatment through the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), a source involved in the evacuation told ACI Africa.

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