Priest forced to leave Zimbabwe

 Fr Patrick Joseph Kelly, a Catholic priest in Nyanga, north eastern Zimbabwe, who has been in hiding since August, after receiving many threats, has decided to leave the country. Fr Patrick who was priest at St Gabriel's Church was forced out of his parish by a group of self-styled war veterans on 28 August after he had distributed literature by Chenjerai Hove and Pius Wakatama, calling for peace in the country. Chenjerai Hove, an award winning author is in self-exile in France. Pius Wakatama is a columnist in the Zimbabwean Daily News. Fr Kelly fled to a safe house in the provincial capital of Manicaland and appealed to the Church for help. He said: "We held a meeting last week with Oppah Muchinguri, Muchabaiwa, and Central Intelligence Organisation agents and a member of the Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace at the government complex. The meeting was inconclusive. They said they could not guarantee my safety and they did not say whether I could return to Nyanga." Press reports in Zimbabwe accuse Fr Kelly of supporting the opposition and distributing literature against the government. Fr Kelly said he would be leaving for Plymouth in the UK as soon as his travel documents were in order. He told The Daily News: "Zimbabwe is a beautiful country and it saddens me that I have to leave under such circumstances. I pray that one day sanity will prevail in the country. I was not told to leave officially but after they said they could not guarantee my safety in Zimbabwe, I thought it best to leave before anything happens to me". source: Daily News

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