Two Missionaries Released in Kisangani; Arrested While Aiding the Wounded

Spanish Priest Javier Zabalo and Belgian Father Guy Veraghen

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ROME. May 16, 2002 ( Two Jesuit missionaries were released yesterday, arrested while aiding the wounded involved in the violent and bloody encounter of May 14, in Kisangani, a city north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Misna agency informs.

The Spanish missionary was detained while lending a hand to the wounded just after the bloody encounter in Kisangani, resulting in the deaths of at least 16 people.

After their release on Wednesday,at 7:45, they were transported to the nearby house of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. The local authorities have required that they present themselves again this Thursday, but only to fulfill some formalities.

Fr Guy Veraghen, over 70 years old, has been hospitalized due to rib injuries resulting from his arrest.

This Wednesday, as the curfew took effect, other evidence indicated that the Congolese rebels were seeking four other religious localities.

In the parish of Cristo Rey, bordering Mangobo, the residence of Fr Zabalo, the house of the religious was completely turned upside down by the military. The area is currently surrounded and inaccessible.

All that remains is for the authorities to clarify the reasons for the violent encounter. In Kisangani there is a large number of Rwandan soldiers, many dressed as civilians.

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