DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     September 29, 1999     vol. 10, no. 185

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Militias Kill Two Nuns, Two Deacons and One Seminarian

        BACAU, SEP 27 (ZENIT).- A group of religious was massacred in Bacau by militias supporting the annexation of East Timor to Indonesia. The killings took place on September 26 at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, while a pastoral team from the Bacau diocese was returning to the city, after visiting a refugee camp.

        According to the international news agency "Fides," the group included two deacons from Timor, about 30 years old, who were shortly to be ordained priests; a young theology student; two Canossian nuns: Sister Celeste de Carvalho from Timor, and Sister Erminia Cazzaniga from Italy. In addition to the religious, two orphan girls were killed, who were cared for by the Sisters, and a reporter from Timor, who worked for a Japanese newspaper.

        Rather than caused by direct hatred against the Church, the violence was committed for "reasons of criminality and desperation: the militiamen who are retreating, feel humiliated and desperate," "Fides" explained. The bodies of the victims were found by a diocesan priest in a reservoir, near the site of the massacre. Bishop Basilio do Nascimento of Baucau, will preside over the funerals tomorrow.

        The news has come as a shock, since in the past few days pastoral agents of the Baucau diocese had described the situation as "quite peaceful." Moreover, within the last few hours the local Church had succeeded in obtaining the return of religious to East Timor.

        Fr. Joseph Ageng Marawata, responsible for conducting negotiations with general Keki Syahnakri, chief of the Indonesian forces in Timor, had just reached an agreement that provided for the return to East Timor of all religious transferred to West Timor. The army had authorized the move of all the members of religious congregations who wished to go, and organized two flights between September 27 and 28.

        At the meeting, general Syahnakri expressed his sympathy to Fr. Marawata over the death of his fellow Jesuit, Fr. Karl Albrecht. The priest had said that those responsible for killing the religious were soldiers of the Indonesian army and not militiamen, as the eyewitnesses heard them speak in Indonesian and not in Tetun. ZE99092708

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

September 29, 1999       volume 10, no. 185


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