Marko Makuec Shir, martyr catechist in Kutum, Sudan

Saturday, 20 March 2004

One of the participants in a Trauma Counselling Course organised by Nyala parish in February 2003, was a young catechist Marko Makuec Shir, a Dinka from Gogrial, married and with three children
The course explained the basics of Trauma Counselling very necessary in Sudan which has experienced almost 40 years of civil war. Little did Marko know that only six months later he would experience trauma himself in Kutum where he had been a catechist since 1998. Kutum is a small fertile village about 80 km. north of El Fasher, the state capital, situated about 800 m. above sea level. Life in the village was tranquil and the only reason for which the catechist was not too happy about going there was that it was isolated. On 25 April 2003 the situation changed. El Fasher was attacked by a group of rebels withdrawing with tanks and jeeps leaving behind them a trail of destruction and death. Marko sent his wife and children to Khartoum while he stayed in Kutum to assist about 12 Christian families and a barracks of 500 soldiers, mostly Christians. During the daytime he looked after two small shops on the main street, one was a "kushuk" kiosk and the other was a telephone box where people came to make phone calls.
On Friday 12 August 2003 the rebels attacked Kutum and after a few hours they took the town. When the noise of the battle subsided, Marko went to the hospital to visit a wounded friend. At the hospital one of the rebels asked for his identity card. While he was looking in his pockets another rebel, who thought he was a soldier, shot him dead. Marko had never been a solider but he had helped many soldiers to pray and perhaps this is why he was taken for one of them. A true Dinka Marko was not afraid to risk his life for his brothers and the Gospel. (Agenzia Fides 20/3/2004 - Righe 22; Parole 357)