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Priest shot dead in Congo

KINSHASA (SE): “Why are you killing me?” are believed to have been the last words spoken by Assumptionist Father Vincent Machozi as he faced the guns of the military on the night of March 20 in the village of Vitungwe-Isale, 15 kilometres from Butembo in the Territory of Beni, North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A letter published by La Croix from Father Emmanuel Kahindo, the vicar general of the Augustinians of the Assumption, says, “Some soldiers arrived around midnight, knocked down the doors and killed him on the spot.”

Fides reported that testimonies gathered by Father Kahindo, as well as reports published on benilubero.com, agree that his killers are from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The website news portal reports, “A dozen uniformed soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, heavily armed, who were travelling in a jeep, stormed the perimeter of the centre of Mon Beau Village, where traditional Nande leaders had gathered to take part in a reflection on peace convened by Mwami Abdul Kalemire III” (head of Basho community).

The soldiers said that they were specifically looking for Kalemire and Father Machozi. When they pointed their guns at him, Father Machozi shouted, “Why are you killing me?” Kalemire had already left the gathering.

Father Machozi was threatened on previous occasions and in 2003 went into exile to the United States of America for some years.

The 51-year-old priest was ordained in Algiers and had taught in the seminary in Kinshasa. He held a doctorate in conflict resolution from Boston University.

 

He was editor-in-chief of benilubero.com.

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