Priests and nuns shot dead by Indonesian militiamen

t EAST TIMOR New wave of atrocities as nine Catholic church workers are ambushed while on their way to help refugees

NINE CATHOLIC church workers, including two nuns and two student priests, were shot dead in East Timor as they drove to the hills to offer help to refugees, according to reports from Catholic sources monitored in Rome and Lisbon. Five lay volunteers were among those reported killed by pro- Indonesian militiamen, and their bodies tossed into a river.

Bishop Basilio do Nasci-miento of Baucau told Portuguese television yesterday that the group had been murdered on Saturday. "This morning we received the news, unfortunately confirmed, that the nine people were killed and their bodies thrown into a river," he said, speaking on the telephone from Baucau. The group comprised the director of Caritas, the missionary arm of the Vatican in Baucau, two students at the local seminary, two nuns, an Indonesian journalist who worked for a Japanese news organisation, two assistants to the nuns and a driver, the bishop said.

Their convoy was attacked as they were driving back to Baucau from Lospalos in the far east of the region where they had travelled to establish what help was needed by those who had taken refuge in the area. "Unfortunately, they never returned to Baucau," the bishop said.

Misna Catholic news agency yesterday named the nuns as Sister Erminia Cazzaniga, 69, an Italian, and Sister Celeste de Carvalho Pinto, 48, an East Timorese. "They were both Mother Superiors from the dioceses of Manatutu and Baucau," said Beth O'Rourke, an agency spokeswoman, speaking yesterday from Rome. "They were sisters of the Canossian mission, which is devoted to helping the poor in schools and orphanages," she added.

Caritas in Rome could not confirm yesterday that one of its members had been attacked. "We have not received reports of a weekend attack," said Father Sanedrin, a spokesman responsible for Asia and Oceania.

Meanwhile Manuel Gusmao, father of the East Timorese independence leader, Xanana Gusmao, who was reported to have died in a militia rampage in Dili, told the Lisbon daily Publico yesterday that he was hiding in the house of a friend.

In an interview headlined "Listen son, send someone to pick us up," Mr Gusmao Snr, 83, says: "I'd like to tell my son: listen, I have no home, nothing, and you know I'm not to blame for any of this. If you can, help me and your mother get to Australia.

"There are good people here, they've helped us a lot, but this is no place for old people."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas