Tributes – Angelo Lagu, JRS South Sudan Country Director
10 December 2012

The late Angelo Lagu (right) with Lomson Christopher, the JRS South Sudan Finance Officer, during a break at the JRS-EA Regional meeting in Nairobi. (Peter Balleis/JRS)
The untimely death of Lagu leaves a huge gap in our hearts for we have known him as a man who spoke from his heart, dedicated himself to the service of his people, and never tired to traverse a difficult terrain to ensure that service was rendered to the people we serve in South Sudan.

Angelo Lagu (1963 - 06/12/2012)

Dear Colleagues,

Greetings from Nairobi!

Last night (Thursday 06/12/2012) at around 8.43pm, we received the sad news of the sudden and tragic demise of our colleague Lagu Angelo, South Sudan Country Director. Mr Lagu had just finalised the handover of the JRS Nimule compound and assets to the Representatives of the Catholic Diocese of Torit in Nimule and was on his way home to Loa when he met his fateful death at around 6.30pm. He was riding his motorbike and run into a trailer which was parked on the wrong side of the road.

Mr. Lagu joined JRS in Adjumani in 2003 as Primary Education Assistant. Before then, he was the Head-teacher of one of the supported school of JRS in Adjumani. He then became the Primary Coordinator. In 2008, he was appointed the Project Director of JRS Adjumani and supervised the successful closure of the project. After Adjumani, he moved to Nimule as Assistant Project Director for JRS Nimule and later became Project Director in 2010. In June 2010, he was appointed the Country Director for JRS South Sudan, a position he was holding until his fateful death.

Mr. Lagu is survived by his wife (Mrs Joyce Lagu), 3 children and 4 grandchildren. Apart from his immediate family, he was also taking care of his mother, his sister, and other relatives. In this painful moment, may we all join together to pray for the family and provide any support that is necessary.

May Lagu Rest in Peace!!!

Kind Regards,

Atsu Andre Agbogan
Regional Human Resources Officer
Jesuit Refugee Service - E. A. Region

Dear Deo and Andre,

Dear friends in JRS Eastern Africa,

It is terribly sad news. I am sorry to hear about the tragic accident of Mr. Lagu. Angelika (JRS International Fundraising Coordinator) just told me how many years he lived as refugee and finally he returned to his home country, got a piece of land for himself and his family. It is sad that he could not live longer his dream of his home with his family.

May the good Lord reward him with the eternal home and strengthen and bless his wife and children to live in the home he had built for them after all the years in exile.

Be assured of our prayers. JRS is deeply grateful to Lagu for his committed service to his people.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Balleis SJ
International Director

Dear JRS members,

I arrived in Khartoum yesterday from Darfur to be informed a few minutes later of the passing of our dear colleague, Mr Angelo Lagu. Upon receiving the sad news, I had to immediately get in touch with Christopher (JRS South Sudan, Country Office Finance Officer) who was deeply saddened and confused by the tragedy but courageously organized everything possible to bring the body to the mortuary and attend to all that is necessary to ensure a decent burial. Thank you Christopher. I am also grateful to you all who have sent in messages of condolences which will be shared with the family by Andre who travels to be with the family in Nimule for the burial tomorrow. I am also thankful to all JRS members in Kajo Keji and Yei who plan to be with Lagu's family, relatives and friends at this time of bereavement. Thank you also Charles for sharing the tribute to a wider audience online.

The untimely death of Lagu leaves a huge gap in our hearts for we have known him as a man who spoke from his heart, dedicated himself to the service of his people, and never tired to traverse a difficult terrain to ensure that service was rendered to the people we serve in South Sudan. His belief in education as an instrument of development and his dedication to bring this about in his own life and in the lives of the forcibly displaced while in exile in Uganda and upon return to his home country remains something for which to pay a great tribute to him. His very last messages to the Regional office include his assessment visit to Upper Nile together with Mercy and Ernesto to see what JRS can do in response to the plight of refugees in that part of the country. The second is a narrative and budget proposal for our new project in Yambio.

Though he had wanted to retire at the end of this year after 10 years of service within JRS, his commitment, upon request, for him to stay on a little longer, attests to his love for the forcibly displaced and returnees in South Sudan. We will surely miss him and commend him to the care of our Creator as we keep his dear family in our prayers.

Deogratias M. Rwezaura SJ
JRS-EA Regional Director


I am saddened by this news of Mr. Lagu's death. It's a terrible loss to his family, JRS and the people of South Sudan. I will offer the Eucharist for the repose of his soul.

May his soul rest in peace!

Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator SJ

Provincial of Jesuit Eastern Africa and Member of the JRS EA Advisory Council

Dear Deo

I join you and your team in solidarity and prayer for Angelo, for his wife and family, who must be devastated by this tragic loss.

Stan Fernandes, SJ
Regional Director, South East Asia

Dear Fr. Deo and Stella,

Our prayers for Lagu, his relatives and all his colleagues at JRS-EA in these very sad moments.
We thank God for his service and commitment to the South Sudanese people.

May he rest in peace!

Amaya Valcarcel
JRS International Advocacy Officer

Dear Deo,

A few minutes ago I got the sad news for the refugees and JRS community.
Losing the country director is a deep loss. In my heart, I keep you and the whole team as a little refuge to heal the pain of this unexpected loss.

Big hug,

Carlos Mejia,
JRS Rapid Response Team

Dear Deo,

Thanks for this email. I did get an email from Mercy giving me the sad news.

It has been tragic and shocking for me after spending a week working and living shoulder with shoulder (with Lagu). But of course for you it is even more difficult...

I have been praying for you and for his family.

May Lagu rest in peace!

Ernesto Lorda
JRS Rapid Response Team

Dear All,

The death of Lagu is very painful and it is a great loss to JRS family, his family and new nation of South Sudan.

May his soul rest in peace!

Lapat Julius
JRS Darfur Project Director

Dear Colleagues,

It is sad and painful to learn of our brother's demise. We pray for Lagu's family, JRS South Sudan and JRS family at large. He has been a great asset to JRS. We will miss a great leader.
Christopher, thank you and may God bless you.

Lagu, rest in peace.

Allan Kiprotich
JRS EA Accountant

Christopher thanks for the loving and caring heart.
You portrayed JRS' core pillar of accompaniment!
God bless you.

We continue to put the family in prayer.

Lagu R.I.P

Stephen Kuteesa
JRS Project Director Kampala

Dear All,

Thanks for all your words of encouragement & hope for Lagu's family and for South Sudan team.

I will deliver all your words of encouragement & hope to the family personally. Now for over 24 hrs I have not realized anything like sleep in my eyes since the sad news was broken to me in the evening of 6/12/2012. The last words he spoke to him me before he met his death were, "Get me at home at exactly 7:30 am on Friday morning (07/12/2012) so that we can begin the journey early enough to go and serve the people of GOD in the next project". 7/12/2012 was the departure day from the compound/office of JRS Nimule to travel to Yei and eventually to Kajo Keji for the same exercise of the closure of the projects. Those words keep on ringing in my brain and make me very sad.

Personally to me, he was like a father, a friend, colleague and the best one. We shared many things in common from family to work. I am undergoing the worse moments in my life, the entire family members instead have been more supportive to me since the sad news broke out, I am totally broken down both in Spirit and physically.

The burial will take place at his ancestral home in Loa, Pageri Payam, Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State on 8/12/2012 at 2pm. Fr. Kevin White SJ Project Director Yei, will lead the JRS team in the burial prayers and the congregation at large. The last funeral rite will be held on Monday 10/12/2012. The time for the mass will be communicated by the family after the burial immediately.

Your words of prayers and too many phone calls have given me some courage and energy face the family and the reality on the ground till the rest of the JRS team from all over the region join me on the 8/12/2012 for the burial. Amen

Best wishes for those who cannot make for the burial. Keep us in your prayers till we meet again as a team.


Lomson Christopher -
Finance Officer
South Sudan, Country Office
Jesuit Refugee Service - Yei

Dear Andre,

I have just received the news of Lagu's death. That is very sad. Please pass on my sincerest regards to his family and the JRS team in Nimule.

Best wishes and safe trip to South Sudan.

Ali Davies
Departamento de África
Fundación Entreculturas

Dear Andre,

This is so sad to hear. We cannot understand, we only can pray that God is now with his family, his wife, children in a special way. The whole Sudan team and JRS as a whole are affected by such a tragedy. I remember so many good moments with him, so much good and dedicated work since 2003 when he joined our team in Adjumani. And I am so grateful that I knew him. Please give my consolation to Lagu's family and tell them that they can be very proud of him. Please greet the team. I will say special mass for the eternal rest of his soul.

Dear Andre I wish you a lot of strength and blessings for such a difficult journey tomorrow. But God is with you.

With great affection


Frido Pflüger SJ,
Former JRS-EA Regional Director

Dear All,

It is indeed painful for all; we have lost a colleague, a friend and a family man. Lagu died with his boots on. I believe he now prays for JRS and all the people he has been serving.

May his soul rest in peace and may the Lord console the dear family he left.

Francis Ayanzu SJ
JRS Sudan Country Director

Dear All,
I would like to express my deepest sympathy at the death of our friend and colleague to his family and to all staff in JRS. It was ghastly news I read after a meeting with UNHCR. It disturbed me a lot because he died on the same day that two of my staff members were seriously threatened by the local youth after a football tournament organized by JRS-Dollo Ado. A refugee player was beaten badly by the host community youth and is now a bedridden patient. Four perpetrators are in jail now.

What consoled me is my strong conviction that Lagu was spiritually ready to face death for a good cause because he consciously made a decision to serve uprooted population in such a dangerous place. Hence, I am quite sure that he died happily. He died a noble death while struggling to carry out his responsibilities. I propose arranging an official remembrance or prayer day throughout the region, if possible.
May his soul rest in peace.

Mulugeta W. Eyesus
JRS Ethiopia

Dear friends,

The news of Lagu's death was shocking. I met him for the first time during Country and Project Directors meeting in Nairobi and truly I found a lot of wisdom and humility in him. Truly we have lost a friend but our good Lord will always be there as our companion. May the family and the S.Sudan team find peace in the lord during this difficult moment.

Lagu R.I.P

Irene Waweru
JRS Nairobi Project Director

Dear All,

I am extremely shocked and sorry to hear about Mr Lagu's untimely demise. It certainly is a great loss. And, I know that his passing will not only leave a void in our lives, but in the hearts of all those who knew him. I knew Lagu as a refugee. It was my first year in JRS and I interviewed him as he shared his story why he left Sudan.

After long time departure I met him in Ethiopia when he came for the Country Directors meeting and again in Nairobi.I am really very sorry about his death and pray for him and his family. May God the Almighty Father Console and Comfort all his beloved family members.

May his soul rest in peace.


Hanna Petros,
JRS RCC Project Director - Ethiopia

Dear friends,

This morning Rebeca (Entreculturas South Sudan Project Officer) informed us that Lagu passed away. It's sad news and I suppose that it's a difficult moment for JRS teams in Sudan and in the region

From Entreculturas I would like to send our sincerest condolences and prayers to the Lagu family and JRS friends

Count on us for anything


Pablo Funes Herrera

Responsable Departamento África

I am sorry, have no words to say. I am extremely shocked and felt deep sorrow when I received our brother's Lagu's demise. It is a very painful accident. You and all the South Sudan staff are all very much in our prayers!! May God's mercy and grace be upon you in this difficult moment.

With sympathy!

Azale Gulilat,
Addis- JRS/ENP

It is extremely shocking, it is painful, it is very disheartening to learn about Lagu's demise. It is difficult to comprehend why it happened at this particular time. Lagu was a colleague dedicated to the work of JRS and to supporting his people through the period of displacement and return and passionate about ensuring their educational needs are met. He will be greatly missed!!!

I especially remember Christopher during this time; know that we are with you in spirit, supporting you in whatever you need. You and all the South Sudan staff are all very much in our prayers!!

May God's mercy and grace be upon you in this difficult moment.

With sympathy!

Stella Ngumuta
JRS-EA Regional Advocacy Officer

Dear Colleagues,

It's very sad to receive this kind of news, that a man who has worked with so much passion and dedication to JRS and to our mission is no more. Lagu was a great leader of our team in South Sudan.

I will personally miss his inspiration and leadership and it's my prayer that the Lord our God will rest his soul in Eternal Peace.

Lagu, may you rest in peace until we meet again in heaven.

Charles Kioko
JRS-EA Regional Finance Officer

Dear colleagues

I was deeply saddened to read the news of Lagu's passing.

Lagu was an inspiration to everyone who knew him and will always remember his open heart. We have many cherished memories from him, both as a person and as a colleague.

Please know that we are here for you. Whatever you need, we will attend to. I would kindly ask you to convey our sincere condolences to his family.

He will be greatly missed by all of us. My thoughts are with you and his family at this difficult time.

May Lagu rest in peace!

Marianthi Eliodorou
Human Resources Coordinator
JRS International Office

Dear All,

I have no words to express how deeply sorry I am to hear about my Colleague's, friend and a wise Lagu sudden death. I'm in shock to hear this news. My prayers and thoughts are with you all during this horrible time.

Seyoum Asfaw
JRS Ethiopia Country Director

Dear all,

I am personally so shocked and saddened at the sudden loss of Lagu. What a loss. May God welcome our friend home and may He give comfort to Joyce, his children, his grand children and his family.

May the Lord bring comfort to JRS and comfort the team in South Sudan. May his friends and loved ones find strength and support in the Lord and in each other.

Lagu remember us to our Friend whose presence you are now in. May He give you eternal rest. We will miss your intelligence, your maturity, your wit, your openness, your leadership, your conversation, your ease all the wonderful gifts we experience in you.

May you receive the comfort and rest in the Lord whose arms you now are in.

Christine Mwaniki
Country Director
Jesuit Refugee Service - Kenya

Dear colleagues,

Sad and shocking news indeed!! We have lost a hard working and dedicated comrade.
Let's join in prayer for his entire family during this hard time.

Angelo R.I.P

Stephen Kuteesa
JRS Kampala

Dear Hezehiah and all in JRS Eastern Africa,

I was deeply saddened to hear of the tragic death of Mr. Lagu Angelo. I can only imagine how shocked his family and all his many friends are. Let me assure you of my prayerful support and you can be certain that all of us in the JRS International Office will be keeping you and Mr. Lagu's family in our prayers during this difficult time. Despite this great loss, I know that the Lord, in his good time, will wipe every tear from your eyes.

In the Lord,

Fr. Kenneth Gavin, S.J.
Assistant International Director
Jesuit Refugee Service

Dear all,

It's so sad that we have lost a leader and a servant who worked hard to serve and support the internally displaced people in southern Sudan. During the meetings in Nairobi, Mr. Lagu's contributions were very constructive and purposeful. May God give strength and courage to the family and friends during this difficult and trying moment.

Let Peace and the Love of our Christ prevail upon his family.

Hezekiah Ronald Ombiro
Project Director
Jesuit Refugee Service - Kakuma


Special Mass
To celebrate the life of Angelo Lagu, there will be a special mass at the JRS Eastern Africa office on Gitanga Road, Nairobi on Friday 14th December 2012 from 12.00pm.

Press Contact Information
Charles Njanga
+254 20 3874152