Zimbabwe: missionaries attacked - churches pray for peace

 Three Catholic priests and three parishioners from St Anthony's Mission in Zaka district are recovering from serious injuries they received last week at the hands of suspected ZANU-PF youths, Fr MacDonald Musvosva, vicar general of Masvingo diocese, said yesterday. The group were attacked for allegedly speaking with two visitors from the American embassy. The priest in charge of the mission, Fr Joseph Odermatt, Fr Joseph Wise, Fr Peter Chimombe and church members Theresa Gut, Philip Wuersch and Aura Mukandwa, were surrounded by a large gang of youths armed with sticks after showing the Americans around the mission. The group were battered and then forced into a vehicle and driven to a ZANU-PF base where they were subjected to further verbal and physical abuse. The victims were then taken to Zaka police station where they were questioned and then released. Police have confirmed the incident and say investigations are in progress. * As polling stations prepare to open tomorrow morning, there have been prayers for peace in churches around the country. Today the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Committee (JPRC) of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe issued a statement, calling for an end to the violence that has characterised the election campaign. JPRC chairman George Wauchope condemned the wave of violence that has left more than 100 people dead. He said: "There is no such thing as minor murder or violence on a minor scale." He said there was a need for the truth to be revealed about the injustices of Zimbabwe's colonial past, the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (AUDI), the Matebeleland Gukurahundi as well as the atrocities of the past months. He called for politicians to accept the outcome of the forthcoming vote.