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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Catholic priest killed in Sri Lanka
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¬†CAFOD has expressed shick and sadness at the news of the death of Rev Fr Nicholaspillai Packiyaranjith, 40, a priest who was killed in Sri Lanka on 26 September. Father Packiyaranjith was a district coordinator of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Sri Lanka. He was killed when his vehicle was hit by a claymore mine on 26 September in the northern area of the country. Lay worker, Christopher Jujin, was also seriously injured. The men were delivering food and other relief supplies to an orphanage and a refugee camp. Mary Lucas, CAFOD Sri Lanka Programme Manager, said "Unfortunately the war is claiming still more victims. It is of great distress that humanitarian workers, who care for those who suffer the horrors of conflict, are themselves being killed. We send our sympathies to Father Packiyaranjith's family, friends and all those whose lives he touched." Mary Lucas added, "Caritas Sri Lanka, CAFOD's main partner in Sri Lanka, has called on the international community to condemn this killing, and the ongoing senseless war which is causing so much damage and destruction. CAFOD appeals to all sides in this 20 year civil war to step back from the violence, and pursue peace talks aimed at a just solution." The war is affecting aid work, and Caritas Sri Lanka's post-tsunami work in the Northern area of Sri Lanka has been scaled back after two staff members were killed last year. However Caritas staff and other CAFOD partners will continue to work with civilians caught up in the conflict zone. CAFOD recently sent £40,000 in emergency aid to help support families who have been forced to flee their homes due to a recent upsurge in military activity. This is additional to the millions spent on the reconstruction in Sri Lanka since the 2004 Tsunami. Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo issued a statement expressing shock at the news. "We strongly condemn such acts of violence that inflicts pain and loss to the innocent civilians. This event brings us once more to the recognition that peace is an urgent imperative. How long can this carnage continue? This incident and the incidents of this nature should prick our conscience to realise the gravity of this situation and the need to establish peace immediately." The Archbishop concluded: "We pray that this incident will stir the peace process, so that he who has died, may not have died in vain."
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