DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     September 30, 1999     vol. 10, no. 186

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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THIRTY CATHOLICS MURDERED IN BURUNDI CHURCH WHILE IN RWANDA BISHOP'S TRIAL ADJOURNED

        ROME (CWNews.com) - About 30 Catholics were murdered in their local church in Burundi's capital Bujumbura, according to the Catholic missionary news agency MISNA on Tuesday.

        The agency said in a statement that a group of men in military uniforms shot at worshippers during Sunday Mass. "At the time of the attack, hundreds of people were gathered for their Sunday prayers," the agency said. "The death toll is around 30, all civilians ... and the majority of the people were Hutu," it added.

        The two central African ethnic groups, the Hutus and Tutsis, have been embroiled in fighting since 1993 in Burundi, leaving about 150,000 people dead. The civil war pits members of the Hutu majority against the mainly Tutsi army. MISNA said Sunday's killings were carried out by "military men, mostly of Ugandan nationality."

        Meanwhile, in Kigali, Rwanda the trial of a Catholic bishop accused of complicity in genocide was adjourned on Wednesday for a month to allow prosecution and defense teams time to prepare witnesses.

        Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro has been charged with five counts of genocide in the massacres of around 800,000 Tutsis and supporting Hutus by extremist Hutus in 1994. The trial began on September 14 but was adjourned for the third time on Wednesday after the bishop gave his initial testimony.

        Among specific charges Bishop Misago faces are that he participated in high-level government meetings at which the genocide was planned, and that he abandoned several Tutsi priests and nuns to their fate at the hands of Hutu militiamen. The bishop said he did all he could to protect the people and he could not save everyone from the killers. "I was not the Almighty to be everywhere to assist everyone in danger," he said on Wednesday.

        The Vatican has criticized the trial as part of a political attack on the Church, which was once the most influential non-governmental institution in Rwanda.


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 30, 1999       volume 10, no. 186
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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