A Columban missionary was killed in the Philippines on Tuesday. Fr Rufus Halley, 57, parish priest at the church of Our Lady of Peace in Malabang, on Mindanao island, was attacked by four masked men around 5pm as he rode home on a motorcycle. Police said he was shot in the head and died instantly. Fr Rufus had been attending an inter-religious meeting near the town of Balabagan. Originally from Waterford, Fr Rufus had lived in the coastal town for 20 years and worked hard to promote inter-faith dialogue between Moslems and Christians, in an area torn by separatist conflict. The Archbishop of Cotabato, Mgr Orlando Quevedo, Chairman of the Philippine Bishops Conference, condemned the killing. He said: "It is a great loss for all those working for peace." Fr Mulkerins Eduardo Ermita, a friend of the dead priest since their seminary days in Dublin, said his friend knew of the dangers of his work. He said: "Like the others, he loved the work, he loved bringing Muslims and Christians together ... He was very conscious of the risks but he was brave and tried to live in a way that would not antagonise anybody."
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