AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Diocese of Tombura-Yambio: Funeral prayer for the priest and his driver kidnapped a month ago

Thursday, 23 May 2024 kidnappings   priests  

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - In the hope, albeit weak, of finding alive the priest and his driver who disappeared on April 27, the Bishop of Tombura-Yambio, Edward Hiiboro Kussala, announced funeral prayers for the two men. "It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we inform you of official funeral prayers for our priest and colleague Rev Father Luke Yugue and his driver Michael Gbeko who went missing on April 27, 2024 while on their way from Nagero County to Tambura County
The Funeral prayers starts Thursday 23 – 25 May 2024, ending with Funeral Holy Mass, Saturday morning", Bishop Kussala said, but added that they were still looking for answers about their fate.
Father Luke and Michael Gbeko have been missing since April 27, the day they left Nagero District in South Sudan on a motorcycle bound for Tombura in Western Equatoria State. They last spoke on the phone to catechist Ngbandua from Maringindo at 1 p.m. local time; they did not reach their destination and could not be located by telephone. The priest was reportedly kidnapped along with his companion following clashes between various factions in the area. Bishop Kussala had repeatedly called for people to look for the priest and his companion. “I ask you, give me information about my Priest; I need my Priest; Give him back to me, please," he asked the South Sudanese authorities in this context. The Bishop of Tombura-Yambio describes Father Yugue as a young priest loved by the faithful who dedicated his life to serving vulnerable communities and displaced people affected by the ongoing conflict in Nagero and Tombura counties.
Recent intercommunal clashes in Tambura have claimed dozens of lives, including several abductees, and increased instability in the region, forcing thousands to seek refuge in UN refugee camps The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said it had deployed 76 additional peacekeepers to reinforce its peacekeepers, protect displaced families and increase patrols in the region. According to UNMISS, more than 13,000 people have sought refuge in a refugee camp outside a temporary UN base, and 4,000 came seeking shelter in another camp in the town of Tambura. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/5/2024)