Sudanese Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako has avoided what could have been an assassination attempt after a man rushed towards the cleric with a knife during a Mass in Sudan's capital, Khartoum - writes Fredrick Nzwili.
"The cardinal was seated close to the altar when the man with a knife approached it," Elarion Zambakari, the chief editor of the Voice of St Paul magazine, told ENInews in a telephone interview, following the incident. "There are strong indications this was an assassination attempt."
Cardinal Wako was celebrating Mass on 10 October 2010 to mark the feast day of St Daniel Comboni, a 19th century Italian missionary who built up the Catholic Church in Sudan, Africa's biggest country.
"I saw a person coming up, carrying a dagger and pointing it at us and coming towards us. I hurried and stopped him," said Barnaba Matuec Anei who was standing next to the Cardinal, the Voice of St Paul reported. "I took away the dagger from him and the security men who were around came and I handed him over to them. They took him away."
The suspect was identified as Hamdan Mohamed Abdurrahman, Vatican Radio reported.
Police sources said it is not clear who was the target. Two other bishops had been alongside Cardinal Wako when the attack took place.
The incident came a day after clashes between supporters and opponents of autonomy for Southern Sudan, where most of the population are Christians or follow traditional beliefs. The same region will vote in a January referendum on whether it will remain as one country with the predominantly Arab and Islamic north.
[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International  is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]