Deadly Attack on Palm-Sunday Procession in Congo

Priest and 8-Year Old Girl Killed; Bishop Wounded

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ROME, MARCH 25, 2002 ( A priest and a girl were killed and 15 people including a bishop were wounded in an attack by terrorists on a Palm Sunday procession in Goma, Congo.

According to the Misna missionary agency, the aggressors threw two grenades at the procession, killing a priest identified only as Father Boniface and an 8-year-old girl.

Bishop Faustin Ngabu of Goma suffered minor leg injuries. On Jan. 20, he was in a coma after inhaling gases from the explosion of the Nyiragongo volcano.

A diocesan priest identified only as Father Faustin suffered a stomach wound. Belgian Salesian Father Jacques Verheyden was also wounded, and an 18-year-old acolyte was reported in grave condition.

The attack took place around 10 a.m., shortly before the Mass began, in Muungano school. Two grenades were thrown at the procession; only one exploded.

Congolese Democratic Coalition authorities arrested four suspects in the attack. Sources said the four are believed to be terrorists «with a political background» who sought to «create disorder and hamper the peace process» in this central African country of 53 million.

Bishop Ngabu, despite his wounds, continued the celebration and appealed to the faithful to pray for peace.

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