Maoist Rebels Add a Threat in Wake of Arson

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DHARAN, Nepal, OCT. 12, 2003 (ZENIT.org-Fides).- Local residents are still shocked by the recent attack on Okhrey Mission, where the Loreto Sisters run a care center that provides medical treatment to the poor.



Maoist rebels touched the center, 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of Kathmandu, on Sept. 19. The night attack destroyed the center's structures, equipment and medical supplies.

The rebels also left threatening leaflets warning the women religious not to come back.

A Maoist insurgency and clashes with government troops have left at least 8,000 died over the past seven years. Three Catholic schools in mountainous areas had to close for two years after being threatened.

According to Father Pius Permana, pro-prefect apostolic in Nepal: "Despite the risks in pastoral work, Catholic priests, nuns and laity in Nepal will go ahead with their work, particularly in the field education, keeping of course the rules of good sense and prudence." The local Church runs 23 schools in Nepal and most of the pupils are non-Christians.

The apostolic prefecture in this country counts about 6,000 Catholics.