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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Reach Volunteering: Volunteer Trustee with Healthcare expertise

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Reach Volunteering: Volunteer Trustee with Management, Communications and Fundraising

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf