News, Religion

Bishop’s shooting: Three accused persons deny involvement

One of the accused persons appearing before the High Court in Juba/Photo: Adia Jildo

 By Adia Jildo

Three people arrested in connection to the shooting of bishop-elect of Rumbek Diocese have denied all the allegations labeled against them in relation to the incident.

The first, second and third accused stood before the High court to make statements in regards to the event that led to the shooting of Fr. Christian Carlassare of Rumbek.

John Mathiang, the first accused said he has no hand in the shooting and did not have any bad intention towards the leadership of the Bishop in Rumbek Diocese.

John Mathiang said when the incident happened, he was in his room, when he was woken up by the sound of the gun, he lain down because of panic.

“When the shooting stopped, I immediately came out of my room. There is a mango tree in our compound so I looked around and I could not see anything. When I left the mango tree, then I saw Fr. Andrea Osman Okello moving from his room to the room of the bishop,” he said.

John Mathiang told the court that he immediately arrived after Fr. Andrea who was later joined by Fr. Luka Ador.

“I found Bishop had fallen in his door. His legs are outside and his body is inside. Fr. Andrea called Bishop and he answered, ‘I am not dead,’ Fr. Andrea went inside his room to get the oil. I went inside to raise the head of the bishop at the back. Father Luka went back to his room to bring his car key,” he narrated.

Mathiang said he was able to take the bishop’s bed-sheet that was used to wrap him up and lift him in the car.

“When I arrived in the hospital, I came out and Fr. Andrea followed me. I left the Bishop in the dressing room and went to call the doctor. The doctor on duty came and began to work to stop the bleeding”.

He said it came to his attention to realize that his phone was not with him and thought he had left it in his room.

Mathiang stated that he had remained in the hospital the whole night.

“At 9 AM we got the information that the plane was coming. At 12:45, the plane landed. I conducted the prayers and the Bishop was taken in the plane. The plane left us, I and Fr. Andrea.”

He stated that they were told to sit under the tree by the security personnel when they reached home. He was told that he would be taken to the police station to record statement regarding the event.

 “I stayed for 20 days in the National Security. 15th May 2021, I was taken to Rumbek prison up to the 25th June 2021. On the 26th June 2021, I was brought to Juba and was placed under police authority”.

Mathiang however said he was not aware of the reasons as to why he was arrested and denied all claims adding that he never had any meeting or plans to shoot the bishop.

“In conclusion, I am not a party to what had happened,” he said.

The second accused known as Samuel Maker Maborm a 29-year-old who stood before the court said his arrest has remained unknown to him since he was arrested unaware of what had happened at the night of that incident.

“26th April 2021, I was sleeping in my house. I left my phone for charging in the sitting room. I went to my room and I slept off. In the morning, National Security officials came to my house,” he said.

Maker claimed that the National Security told him that someone had used his phone.

He was taken to the National Security office in Rumbek for investigation.

“I told them that I don’t have any idea, when Laat (6thaccused) came to my house to use my phone,” he narrated.

He also denied having any meeting or agreement with first accused John Mathiang on the shooting of bishop-elect.

According to the investigator, 5 bullets of a pistol gun, a pair of canvas shoe and a trouser of Morris Sebit Ater the first accused were found in the house of second accused Samuel Maker.

He however said the exhibit was found when he was already under detention of the national security.

Gabriel Deng Dut, the third accused also said he never had any hand in the shooting and never knew why he was under police detention.

According to the investigator, they claimed Gabriel is a body guard to the first accused John Mathiang and his driver.

He however said that he was a driver but never got any pay from the priest for his service.

Gabriel said he had gone to the church to be allowed a security personnel in the event of welcoming of the Bishop which was denied to him.

“On the 15th, I went to the airport just for the sake with the police since I was not in the program. On the 18th we went to Gok-rial for teachers training. Later, I came to Markofit. On the 24th, I reached Rumbek at 6 PM with the people for education. I reached Padok guest house and later to my home and slept,” he narrated.

Gabriel said he attended the church service on the 25th where he saw the Bishop leading the mass.

He said he passed to his charging centre since his boys who were charging were arrested by the police when some phone had gotten lost.

Gabriel however complained of being beaten despite asking questions for the reasons behind it which later found himself into the case of the shooting of the bishop-elect.

The fourth, fifth and sixth accused will continue with the statement today in the High court in Juba.

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