Parish Vicar Hauled Off and Murdered in Congo

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BUNIA, Congo, AUG. 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A 30-year-old parish vicar in the town of Fataki, in Congo's northern Ituri province, was murdered by a militia following a recent raid.



The town where Father Justin Mandro Kpanga worked is predominately populated by the Hema ethnic group. The murder was linked to an opposing Lendu militia.

Eyewitnesses reported the incident to the pastor, Father Protais Dhena, according to news sources.

Contact with the Congolese priest ceased at the beginning of August, when Fataki was attacked by the Lendu militia. Following the attack, Father Kpanga was deported along with several civilians. A number of those abducted by the Lendu militia, who managed to escape, said that the priest was shot to death.

"His body was abandoned alongside the road, while he was being deported together with other civilians, but for the moment, due to the insecurity throughout the area, it is impossible to recover his body," a religious source from Bunia told the Misna agency.

Bunia, the administrative capital of the troubled Ituri province, has been the site of ethnic clashes between rival forces fighting for the region's enormous mineral resources.