Kenyan Jesuit Fr. Odhiambo SJ Killed in South Sudan

234Fr. Victor-Luke Odhiambo SJ.

On November 15th, 2018, Father Victor-Luke Odhiambo SJ was assassinated by unknown attackers that attacked the Jesuit Residence, Daniel Comboni in Cueibet, South Sudan. It is a tragic moment for the Jesuit community in that residence but also for everyone who knows this kind-hearted Jesuit.

It was early in the morning when Fr. Odhiambo was shot by the unknown attackers that came to the Daniel Comboni Residence. This tragic incident occurred so early in the morning while all the Jesuits in that resident still sleeping and were awaken only by the startled sound of the gunshots. The Jesuits in the residence activated the alarm after hearing the gunshots and the culprits of the act ran away.

The local authority of the area has arrested one of the alleged perpetrator even though further investigation still needed to be conducted to know the real motives of the assassination. John Madol, the Gok State Information Minister declared that actions still needed to be taken to uncover motives behind the killing, but in the meantime the local government has declared a three days of mourning to honor Fr. Odhiambo.

The news of the assassination startled many Jesuits around the world and has spread across the social media platform. Many fellow Jesuits have dedicated their prayers and condolences to Fr. Odhiambo who was a friend, a teacher, an administrator, and a devoted Ignatian.

The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ, expressed his reflection on the life of Fr. Odhiambo who had sacrificed and dedicated his life to many. “Father Victor-Luke Odhiambo leaves a name, not only in South Sudan as the first Jesuit to die at the service of its people, but in the whole of Eastern Africa as a teacher of thousands of students in the Starehe Boys Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Loyola High School in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.He was a very courageous man, intelligent, caring, creative administrator and, above all, a believer in the value of education. He was not afraid of venturing into the unknown, even into the most dangerous of places once he was convinced it was the Lord’s mission.”

The Jesuits in Timor – Leste also express feelings of condolences to Fr. Odhiambo who was a dedicated Jesuit to God’s poor not just in Kenya but around the world. Fr. Odhiambo is an exemplary servant of God for the Jesuits in Timor – Leste who are also working for the poor and for the Greater Glory of God following the Ignatian Spirit.

Fr. Odhiambo was born on January 20th, 1956 and died at the age of 62. He joined the society of Jesus at the age of 22, on July 4th, 1978 and ordained as a Jesuit priest on August 22nd, 1987. He had worked in South Sudan for ten years and was the superior of the Jesuit community in Cueibet since January 2017 and the principal of the Mazzolari Teachers College at the time of his death.

Again our thoughts and prayers to Fr. Odhiambo. He was a fellow Ignatian, a kind-hearted and dedicated servant for the poor and an exemplary Jesuit for all of us. He will be remembered by his fellow Jesuits and by many others in Sudan and around the world. Requesciat en pace!