SOUTH SUDAN: Diocese of Tombura-Yambio Declares Three Days of Mourning For Missing Fr Luke Yugue

By Wesley Omondi

TOMBURA, MAY 24, 2024  (CISA) — The Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio has officially announced the funeral plans for Fr Luke Yugue Mbokusa and his driver, Michael Gbeko, who were kidnapped on April 27, 2024.

In a statement shared with CISA, Rt Rev Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio announced the solemn ceremonies will commence on May 23 culminating with a Requiem Mass on May 25, 2024, at St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Parish, with similar observances across all parishes and institutions within the diocese.

The tragic disappearance of Fr Yugue and Mr Gbeko, who were last seen travelling from Nagero County to Tombura County, has left the local community in deep sorrow. Despite exhaustive efforts to locate them, their whereabouts remain unknown, prompting the diocese to begin the funeral proceedings while continuing to seek the truth and justice behind the kidnappings.

Fr Yugue was a dedicated young priest known for his unwavering commitment to serving displaced and suffering people amid the ongoing communal conflicts in Nagero and Tombura Counties. His devotion to his mission mirrored the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who gave His life for humanity.

“This martyrdom is a new and shocking event for our diocese,” stated Bishop Kussala, adding “However, the early history of our Church is filled with stories of martyrdom, starting with Jesus Christ Himself. Fr Yugue now joins this revered group.”

In response to calls for revenge over the presumed brutal deaths of Fr Yugue and Mr Gbeko, Bishop Kussala urged the community to seek justice through peaceful and lawful means, drawing on scriptural guidance.

He referenced John 18:10-11, where Jesus rebukes Peter for using violence, and 1 Samuel 17:47, which reminds believers that the Lord does not save with sword and spear, emphasizing that “the battle is the Lord’s.”

Bishop Kussala highlighted that while the Church permits self-defence, it strongly condemns acts of revenge. He stressed the importance of adhering to the legal system to achieve justice, warning that emotions could lead to further violence and division, undermining the community’s efforts to build a peaceful nation.

“As we mourn Fr Yugue and Mr Gbeko, we must remain steadfast in our prayers and good deeds. Let us allow the government to carry out its duty, ensuring justice through legal channels,” said Bishop Kussala.