An assassination attempt on Cardinal Zubeir Wako, the Catholic Archbishop of Khartoum took place on Sunday. The attack happened as the Cardinal was leading the Eucharistic celebration at the Comboni Playground in Khartoum.
A suspect, who was identified as Hamdan Mohamed Abdurrahman, infiltrated the congregation and joined the liturgical dancers in front of the altar. He made his way to the front of the group and held up a dagger within four steps of Cardinal Wako, before he was spotted by the Master of Ceremonies, Mr Barnaba Matuech Anei who was next to the cardinal, who caught and disarmed him. He was then handed over to the security guards who had missed him earlier.
"The man might have infiltrated and entered the playground early, and hid himself amongst the faithful because we had very intense security check-in at the gates,” Mr Matuec said.
“We want to find out what was his mission in the Church was, and why he was carrying a dagger with him. After that, we will see what to do next. We must know his background and identity. If he has people backing him to carry out such actions in the church, we would like to know,” he said
There were two bishops on the stage with Cardinal Wako: The co-adjutor bishop of El-Obeid, Michael Didi and a Comboni Bishop from Ethiopia.
Every year, Catholics in the archdiocese of Khartoum celebrate the feast of Saint Daniel Comboni on October 10, the day Comboni died in Khartoum in the year 1881.
Daniel Comboni founded the Catholic Church in the Sudan. Cardinal Wako is the seventh successor of Daniel Comboni and the first Sudanese Bishop to succeed Comboni as archbishop of Khartoum.
The Catholic Church has filed a case against Hamdan. When interrogated on Monday at Military Central Committee of the Sudan Armed Forces, Hamdan testified that he was an Arab Misseriya from Southern Kordofan State. He is being detained at the police station in Khartoum and will be taken to the court for further action.
International experts warn that the life of Christians in Northern Sudan will be in danger if Southern Sudan secede during the self-determination referendum.
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