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Australian priest shot dead in PNG

An Australian Catholic priest was shot dead in his bed on Thursday night after a gang broke into a monastery in the hills outside Port Moresby.

Fr Fabian Thom, 63, celebrated his 40th anniversary as a priest last month 35 of those years were spent as a missionary in Papua New Guinea.

Franciscan Fr Eduardo Arnenta told AAP that the gang of "rascols" (rascals) broke into the Franciscan Formation House, a novitiate, at 16 Mile, 29km northeast of Port Moresby in the Sogeri Hills, at about 10.30 on Thursday night.

"They stole things, such as a computer, a printer, radios and a VCR, and then they went to Fr Thom's bedroom.

"It appears that they shot him in cold blood while he was asleep he was still neatly tucked up in bed when we found his body.

"It is a tragedy."

Fr Thom's family in Newcastle, NSW, had been informed, Fr Arnenta said.

"They will be coming up to Port Moresby for the funeral, which will probably be some time next week," he said.

The Age