Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)
23 September 2008
Posted to the web 24 September 2008
Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels looted and destroyed a Catholic mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, near the border with Sudan.
The attack on Duru Mission took place last week, Catholic Bakhita Radio in Juba reported. A woman was killed and some children abducted during the incident. Other reports say at least four people were killed and about a hundred houses destroyed.
Two Comboni priests at the mission fled for safety to Yambio, South Sudan, while a third was left behind. He arrived in Yambio on Monday.
Fr. Samuel Sebit, of Yambio Diocese, told Bakhita Radio what happened. "According to the fathers who came from the mission, Fr. Magalasi and Fr. Ferruchio, some five days ago the LRA attacked the area. They started burning the houses; they even killed a person, one woman was shot, and finally they came and attacked the mission. They started collecting all the phones, Thurayas and all the computers. They burned part of the mission."
Fr. Sebit added that the two missionaries who arrived in Yambio escaped without any document or money. Fr. Mario Benedetti managed to escape alone while the LRA rebels were taking him to another room, Fr. Sebit added.
Fr. Peter Magalasi, a Sudanese, and Fr. Ferruchio Gobbi, from Italy, reached Yambio on Friday in a very poor state after a 24-hour journey through the bush. The third priest, Fr. Mario Benedetti, reached Yambio on Monday.
"They came on foot through the bush. They got two boys who helped them with motorbikes. They arrived in Yambio yesterday between one and two. They were looking miserable, with mud, tired, with thorns in their bodies, because the road was very bad", Fr. Sebit explained on Saturday.
This was the second time Duru Mission, in the diocese of Doruma-Dungu, was looted by the LRA in recent months.
Meanwhile, Fr. Sebit said that many people took refuge in Nzara after the LRA attacked a Sudanese Pepople's Liberation Army base in Sacore, 35 miles from Yambio.
"There are many displaced people who have come from Sacore to Nzara, and they are still coming to Nzara because their houses were burnt. Some of their children were abducted and, in fact, one of the children of the chief was burnt", he said.
Fr. Sebit added that in Yambio people remained calm and that the Western Equatoria government was doing its best to protect citizens from LRA attacks across the border.
LRA's attack on Duru town last Wednesday night, was one of gravest in the past months, Missionary News Agency, MISNA, says.The Justice and Peace Commission of Dungu Diocese in DR Congo says Duru, Diabo and Doruma are the villages that suffer most from LRA violence.
Since December last year the rebels have killed nine people and kidnapped some 50 in the area. The Congolese government has stationed 2000 soldiers in the area to try to contain the LRA.
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