“Investigations are underway and we have link information to find suspects. Some arrests have been made and more are being made, hopefully within the next 24 hours. Something substantive would have been done by the government regarding the shooting of the bishop,” he said April 26.
Madit described the attack on the bishop-elect an “isolated incident” perpetrated by a group of criminals whose network, he said, has already been established.
In an April 26 statement, the South Sudan Human Rights Commission condemned the attack.
It said: “[From] the event leading to this unfortunate development and other relevant information, it has become clear that the bishop-elect was sole target of the attack.”
“The commission hereby condemns this barbaric act in strongest terms possible and urges both the state and national Government to institute an investigation committee to conduct thorough investigation with the aim of holding the culprits accountable.”
“While the government conducts its investigation, the commission urges the faithful to remain calm as we shall closely monitor the investigation and equally do our own fact-finding and keep the general public informed of any latest developments.”
Carlassare’s episcopal ordination was scheduled to take place on Pentecost Sunday, May 23.
The Italian-born Comboni Missionary had served in South Sudan’s Malakal diocese since he arrived in the country in 2005.
He traveled to Rumbek diocese April 15, following a spiritual retreat in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
As he left Rumbek for further treatment in Kenya, the bishop-elect appealed for prayers and asked for forgiveness for the perpetrators.
“Pray for me and let’s all pray for the Diocese of Rumbek that God may have mercy on us and receive His graces,” the Italian-born bishop-elect he said.
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“We also need to forgive those who committed this kind of action.”
He added: “Let us be united in prayer, let us be good Christians and trust the Lord and that the Lord may do something good. I thank the doctors, priests, and people of the Church for being with me during this moment of suffering from the night till now.”
Rumbek was elevated to a diocese in 1974. The see became vacant in 2011 following the sudden death of Bishop Cesare Mazzolari. The Comboni missionary bishop collapsed during Mass on July 16, 2011, a week after South Sudan gained independence. He was confirmed dead at Rumbek State Hospital.
When Carlassare was named bishop of Rumbek last month, nearly 10 years after the death of the diocese’s last bishop, he described his appointment as an illustration of “the God of surprises.”
A version of this story was first published by ACI Africa, CNA's African news partner, written by Peter Mapuor Makur. It has been adapted by CNA.