OWANDO, Republic of Congo, SEPT. 13, 2005 (Zenit.org).- A Franciscan missionary was attacked with machetes and killed after he accidentally ran over a child in a village in the Diocese of Owando.
Father Angelo Redaelli, 40, who had been in the country for the past two years, was driving a Land Rover on Monday morning with eight passengers, all nuns and priests, according to Father Gianfranco Ostuni, a spokesman for the Order of Friars Minor. He relayed the information to the Missionary Service News Agency.
Although Father Redaelli was not driving at high speed, he was unable to avoid hitting the 3-year-old girl, who died instantly, officials said.
The passengers got out of the vehicle immediately to help the victim, but the local residents, among them relatives of the child, attacked the priest with machetes and killed him.
The other religious fled into the forest and later sought refuge in the episcopal see of Owando. The accident occurred about 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of the capital Brazzaville.
A suspect has been arrested in the death of the Franciscan, according to the Missionary Service News Agency.
Father Redaelli’s funeral will be held in Brazzaville, and he will be buried in Italy.
Born on May 19, 1965, in Tradate, Italy, Father Redaelli belonged to the Franciscan province of St. Charles Borromeo. Ordained a priest in 1995, he was living in Makua, Republic of Congo.
Friar José Rodríguez Carballo, minister general of the Friars Minor, expressed his grief for the accident that caused the child’s death and sent a message of sympathy to the local authorities and representatives of the Church, according to a Franciscan communiqué.