DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     November 18, 1998     vol. 9, no. 226

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

SIX PRIESTS AMONG DOZENS KILLED IN CONGO MASSACRE WHILE ITALIAN PRIEST KIDNAPPED IN SIERRA LEONE

          BRAZZAVILLE, Congo (CWNews.com) - Six priests were reported killed in a massacre of more than 50 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday as they gathered in a church to pray for peace.

          Representatives of the country's various faiths had gathered in the church to seek a peaceful resolution to violence that has plagued southern Congo, mainly perpetrated by fighting between government soldiers and a rebel group called the Ninjas. Three surviving priests said members of the Ninjas took the six priests and about 45 other people, including women and children, out of the church and shot them. An exact death toll has not been released.

          The priests were members of an ecumenical committee formed two weeks ago to mediate a resolution to violence in the region. Killings have escalated since three police officers were killed by rebels on August 29. The Ninja rebels are reportedly loyal to ousted Congo Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas. Survivors of Saturday's massacre say the priests were killed because the rebels believed the priests were associated with the government of Denis Sassou Nguesso.

          Meanwhile, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, an Italian priest was kidnapped by a rebel group in Sierra Leone, according to Catholic leaders in the country on Tuesday.

          Bishop George Biguzzi said that Father Mario Cuerro, 64, was abducted from his mission house in northern Sierra Leone on Sunday. A boy abducted along with the priest was then sent by the suspected rebels to a West African peacekeeping force to say that Father Cuerro was in good condition and safe. Bishop Biguzzi said the Church has not yet been contacted directly by the kidnappers.

          "We are appealing to the people who abducted Father Mario Cuerro from the Mission House in Kamalo on Sunday night to release him immediately," he told a news conference. "We assume the people who abducted the father are the people fighting the war in Sierra Leone."


Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
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Nov 18, 1998       volume 9, no. 226
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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