Uganda: missionaries survive kidnap

 Two Italian missionaries were kidnapped - then freed by rebels over the weekend. Comboni missionaries, Fr Alex Pizzi, 63, and Fr Ponziano Velluto, 71, were abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army, (LRA), during a raid on the Opiti mission, about 16 miles south-east of the regional capital Gulu, early Saturday morning, the Missionary News Service report. The Ugandan army say they shot dead two rebel soldiers during the attack. The mission was ransacked, and an unknown number of people, including five young girls, were also forced to leave with the rebels, carrying looted radio equipment and food. Archbishop John Baptist Odama told the AFP news agency that the priests arrived back at their parish at 4pm yesterday, after walking 12 kilometres. The people captured with them are also believed to have been freed. This latest attack is the second this weekend. The rebels have been fighting the government for the past 16 years. According to a BBC report, religious leaders have been meeting both the rebels and President Museveni in recent weeks to try to move the peace process forward. Officials in northern Uganda, quoted by Reuters, said they believed it was the first time in recent years the LRA had kidnapped priests.

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