Page 5, 16th May 2003

16th May 2003
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Page 5, 16th May 2003 — Africa
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Africa

Congo rebels murder priest

A CATHOLIC priest was one of several people killed by rebel forces in the Congo.

Fr Raphael Ngona, a member of the Hema ethnic group, was shot twice in the head during the night of May 6-7.

According to a news agency, Fr Ngona was chased by armed men into his bedroom, where he was killed with two bullets to the head.

The priest was buried in the courtyard of the Diocese of Bunia's headquarters, because continued fighting prevented anyone from reaching the cemetery.

Fr Ngona was one of the first to bring the world's attention to the early April massacre of some 300 Hema people near the town of Drodro.

He was killed in the skirmishes that resulted from the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from northeast Congo.

Human Rights Watch said in May that the HemaLendu conflict has led to the deaths of some 4,000 people in the past eight months.

Priest in crater death plunge A KENYAN priest has died in an apparent suicide when his car plunged into the Menengai crater.

Although there were contradictory reports from the scene, some witnesses indicated that Fr Michael Kabatu had apparently driven deliberately into the deep abyss that is a popular tourist spot in the Rift Valley, and where another Catholic priest committed suicide last year.

Fr Kabatu had been suspended from his Mogotio parish of Nakuru diocese under circumstances which the diocese has chosen not to reveal.

Bishop Peter Kairu confirmed that the priest had been removed from his pastoral duties.

Army seeks kidnappers

THE UGANDAN army is seeking a group of rebels who abducted more than 40 Catholic seminarians over the weekend.

Army spokesman Major Bantariza told BBC News Online that at least 100 soldiers had been sent to rescue the boys.

An eight-year-old boy was shot dead during the attack, which happened early on Sunday morning at the Lacor junior seminary in the Gulu district of north Uganda.

The LRA rebellion has lasted 16 years, during which time thousands of children have been abducted and conscripted to fight alongside the rebels, The archbishop of the diocese, John-Baptist (Mama, told the French news agency, AFP, that the rebels smashed their way into the dormitory and abducted 44 boys aged between 12 and 18.

He said that three of the students later escaped their Captors and returned to the seminary.




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