Twenty nine church workers killed in 2003

 Throughout 2003, 29 church workers and missionaries were killed working for the Church. Those who lost their lives were: Fr Dieudonne Mvuezolo-Tovo, from the Democratic Republic Congo, co-ordinator for Catholic Schools in Bas Province, DR Congo, shot dead on 11 March by a man in military uniform on the Tshimpi Matadi road. Fr Nelson Gomez-Rejarano, from Colombia, 52, parish priest of the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal Parish in Armenia, Colombia. Killed on 22 March by robbers. Fr Martin Macharia Njoroge from Kenya, 34, died on 11 April in hospital in Nairobi (Kenya) from injuries inflicted by robbers in the city outskirts. The robbers forced him to get out of his car then fired several shots at him escaping with his car which they abandoned a short distance away. Ordained a priest 4 years ago, he was in charge of St Francis Xavier Parish at Parklands. A brother of Father Martin, also a priest, was killed in 2000. Fr Raphael Ngona from DRC, shot dead on 6 May on the premises of Bunia diocesan offices where he was temporarily having been appointed parish priest at Drodro. Three junior seminarians kidnapped in Lachor, Archdiocese of Gulu, Uganda, during the night of 10 May. Altogether 41 boys were abducted by LRA rebels: three were confirmed dead, others escaped and the rest are believed to be still in the hands of the rebels. Fr Aime Njabu and Fr Francois Xavier Mateso, from DR Congo, found dead on 10 May in Nyakasanza parish, on the outskirts of Bunia. Fr Njabu was slain with a machete and Fr Mateso was shot dead in the parish compound. On the same occasion a number of parishioners were also found dead. Fr Jairo Garavito from Colombia, aged 36, killed on 15 May by a group of delinquents who broke into the parish house at Yerbabuena di Chia, Cundinamarca region, Colombia. He died of suffocation after being beaten, gagged and bound by his killers. Fr Manus Campbell OFM from Ireland killed 21 May by robbers who broke into the parish in the outskirts of Durban,South Africa. He had been a missionary in South Africa for 45 years. Ana Isabel Sanchez Torralba, 22, from Spain on her first mission abroad as a member of the Calasanziano Voluntary Missionary group, killed in Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea on 1 July during a police raid. Fr George Ibrahim, from Pakistan, 38, shot dead at dawn 5 July by armed men who broke into in his parish dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima at Renala Khurd, Okara district, Pakistan. Fr Taddeo Gabrieli OFM Capuchin, aged 73 from Italy stabbed to death on 19 July at Imperatriz, Maranhao state, Brazil, by a person he was trying to assist, apparently under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He devoted his entire life to evangelisation. Fr Mario Mantovani, Comboni Missionary, 84, from Italy, who had assisted lepers in Uganda for 45 years Comboni Brother Godfrey Kiryowa, from Uganda, aged 29. He was killed with Fr Mario 14 August 2003 on the road between Capeto and Kotido, Uganda, by cattle thieves. Fr Alphonse Kavendiambuku, of the Democratic Republic del Congo, Matadi diocese, killed on 26 August at Kavuaya, Bas Congo province, by five former military who attacked the car in which the priest and another two passengers, one injured the other unhurt, were travelling. Fr Lawrence Oyuru, parish priest at Ocero, Soroti diocese in Uganda, killed with 25 other people in an ambush staged by LRA rebels on the Soroti - Manasale road on 1 September. Fr William de Jesus Ortez, 32, born in Jucuapa, El Salvador, parish priest at the cathedral in Santiago de Maria diocese, El Salvador, shot dead inside the cathedral in the afternoon of 5 October 2003. The sacristan Jaime Joel Quintanilla, 23, was also shot dead. Annalena Tonelli, 63, from Italy, a voluntary medical worker, shot dead on 5 October as she left the hospital she founded and where she had cared for the local people for 33 years at Borama, northern Somalia. Fr Sanjeenananda Swami, 52, died after being beaten in Belur Kolar district, Bangalore diocese, India, on 7 October. Fr Saulo Carreno, 38, from Colombia, parish priest at Saravena, Arauca, Colombia, shot dead in his car on 3 November. Hospital worker Maritza Linares was also killed probably by outlaws fighting for control of this oil-rich area, near Sarare hospital on the Saravena - Fortul road. Fr Henry Humberto Lopez Cruz, 44, from Tolima, Lebanon, parish priest at Villavicencio, main town of the central Colombian region of Meta, stabbed to death in the parish house during the night of 3 November. His body, tied to a chair, was found the next day by a cleaning woman. Fr Jose Runin Rodriguez from Colombia, 51, parish priest at La Salina, Casanare, Colombia, kidnapped on 14 November and murdered in a rural area Tame, Arauca. His body was found a week later on 21 November. Fr Joze Maria Ruiz Furlan, 69, from Guatemala, shot dead on 14 December at his parish in Guatemala City. He was known to be a passionate human rights activist and for his work to improve the living conditions of the poor. Fr Anton Probst, 68, from Germany, a Claretian Missionary, killed on Christmas Eve at Akono Novitiate, in Cameroon. After Midnight Mass as he returned to his room he met with thieves who gagged and bound him and beat him to death. He came to Cameroon 11 years ago, after spending 24 years on mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Archbishop Michael Courtney, from Ireland, 58, Apostolic Nuncio in Burundi, shot in his car during an ambush on 29 December at Minago, 50 km south of the capital Bujumbura. Other persons travelling with him were also wounded. The Archbishop died of his injuries at Bujumbura hospital. Source: CISA

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