Pope Bendedict urges the FNL to stop killing people
Pope Benedict XVI hopes that the death of a Jesuit priest, killed by gunfire in Burundi on February 4, will prompt rebels to reconsider their violent approach.
In a telegram of condolences, send to Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the apostolic nuncio in Burundi, the Holy Father expressed his sorrow upon hearing of the death of Father Elie Koma, who was struck by three bullets as he drove toward his home in the capital city of Bujumbura. The Pope urged "those who continue committing acts of violence to definitively renounce such works of death, so that the inhabitants of this country may live in peace and security."
Father Guillaume Ndayishimiye, a colleague of the slain priest, said that Father Koma died as he was returning home after having celebrated Masses for two religious communities and then visited his sister of the capital city. As he returned, a rebel force shot out the tires of his car, and once he had stopped, they killed the priest with a volley of gunfire from the rear of the car. Father Ndayishimiye said that the rebels were in flight after having shot and killed a military officer earlier in the evening. Father Ndayishimiye's account of the killing differs from earlier reports, which had said that the rebels were engaged in a gunfight with government troops, after having been caught while looting a warehouse.
Burundi has been wracked by civil war since 1993, with rebels of the Hutu tribe battling the armed forces controlled by the Tutsi minority. More than 300,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed during a decade of conflict. After a delicate truce, only one rebel group remains in open conflict with the government.
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Burundi, human rights, Current Affairs, Politics, Africa