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A suspect in the shooting of the Bishop-elect in the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek, Christian Carlassare, pleaded guilty before the high court in Juba Thursday.

Six suspects were arraigned yesterday in Juba, and one of them confessed to having shot Fr. Carlassare.

The suspect told the court that he shot the cleric, but could not give details during the opening session of the court proceedings.

Speaking in the first hearing of the case, high court judge, Alexander Sabor Subke, said the case was still in its infancy as he rescheduled the second hearing for Monday, February 7, 2022.

The lawyers of the defendants who declined to disclose their names to the media said it was still a long way to go in the case, despite the fact that one of the suspects had already pleaded guilty.

They said other legal proceedings would follow to determine his conviction.

They pleaded for the defendant to be subjected to a fair and free trial so that justice could prevail.

“It is yet to be concluded because today was only the confirmation of the accused names and other minor issues. But the next session will be for the hearing of the investigator,” said one of the counsels who represented the suspects.”

“We have not yet reached that stage of guilty or not guilty [plea taking]. These are preliminary stages. We are still far away from determining the facts. The only message (we have) is that we need justice to prevail, the case to be sped up and the accused to be accorded a fair and free trial, ” the person said.

The plans:

Fr Christian was appointed as bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek on March 8, 2021, by Pope Francis. This was after the post had remained vacant since 2011, following the untimely death of Bishop Caesar Mazzolari, who collapsed and died at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Carlassare was supposed to be installed as a bishop on May 23, 2021. He was serving in Malakal Diocese since his arrival in the country in 2005.

Bishop-elect shot:

On April 25, 2021, twelve suspects, including three clerics suspected to have pioneered the alleged shooting of the bishop-elect of Rumbek Catholic Diocese, Fr. Christian Carlassare, were arrested over the shooting of the bishop-elect of Rumbek Diocese.

Through facilitation from the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), Christian was flown to Nairobi after primary management by doctors working with the Africa CUAMM.

The Association of Catholic Information in Africa (ACIA), in their report, said the bishop-elect was shot in both legs by two armed men at his residence in Rumbek.

“When the two men shot the Bishop-elect, one of them dropped his phone and the Bishop fell on it. It is this phone that the security used to find the people connected, ” ACIA quotes their source.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit described the shooting as a disgrace and called for an immediate investigation.

“The reprehensible act of violence meted on him is unacceptable, and it must stop. I call upon all South Sudanese to condemn the criminals who carried out this heinous crime in the strongest terms possible,” the president noted.

Assailant forgiven:

It was later reported that Fr Christian had forgiven his attackers and prayed for kindness and reconciliation in the Catholic Diocese of Rumbek.

“I take this chance to greet all of you, my brothers and sisters, in Rumbek. I want you to be at peace to know that I am well here in hospital (Nairobi) and been taken care of and I am improving,” shot Bishop-elect Fr. Carlassare said from a hospital in Nairobi.

“It will take some time for my legs to be able to walk again, but I assure you that I will be back, and I will be with you.”

The cleric further called on his fellow Christians in Lakes State and Rumbek to come together and unite, reconcile and forgive one another for the betterment of the country.

“Please let us be united in prayers, let us be united with all our hearts, let us promote forgiveness to enable [us] to seek for justice with the heart of God which is mercifully heart; the heart that can preach peace, mercy to any person,’’ he appealed.

“I see the values of unity, forgiveness present in each one of us, although I am far from you, I feel united to you and also be untied with me in this process of reconciliation.”

His recovery:

In July 2021, Fr Christian fully recovered and was spotted to have resumed his duties in Nairobi, Kenya later on.

“Fr. Christian Carlassare is still in Nairobi, he is recovered fully and doing well, and as a man of God he will always give the word of God to his people,” said Father Andrea Osman.

However, Fr. Christian has returned to Italy since he was discharged from a hospital in Nairobi.

Source: City Review SS ©

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