BY SIMON CALDWELL
SOLDIERS have murdered an Irish missionary working in Uganda after he spoke out against excessive use of violence by the army there.
Fr Declan O'Toole, 31, was shot dead last week by at least one soldier who stepped into the road and fired on his car as he drove home with two of his parishioners. who were also killed in the attack.
The priest, a Mill Hill Missionary from Galway, had been working in the remote Kotido region of the country, where the Ugandan army has been campaigning against the local Karamojong warriors. Fr O'Toole was a critic of the army's use of force in the area, as well as a tireless worker for peace and reconciliation between the Kotido's warring tribes.
Last weekend, the army confirmed it had arrested Corporal James Omediyo and Private Abdullah Mohammed for the murders, but refused to speculate on any possible motives. The pair could face execution by firing squad. Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, who ordained Fr O'Toole to the priesthood in his parish church at CLaran, Headford, said he was "shocked and profoundly saddened" by the murder.
He said: "It is hard to believe that the life and ministry of this dedicated and thoroughly likeable young priest could have been ended in such a brutal and untimely manner.
"I offer my most sincere sympathy to his family, neighbours and friends and to his brother priests in the Mill Hill order.
-May God bring Fr Declan and his
two companions to himself and forgive those who have so cruelly murdered them."
Fr O'Toole becomes the second Mill Hill Missionary, a London-based order. to be shot dead in two years. American priest Fr John Kaiser was murdered in Kenya shortly after he publicly condemned corruption in the government there.
This year, about 25 priests, five women religious, a seminarian and a consecrated laywoman have been martyred.