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African bishops regret Catholic theologian's arrest


Bishops in Central Africa have highlighted the recent arrest of a Catholic theologian in Rwanda as an attempt to halt the Church's efforts at reconciliation.

Laurien Ntezimana, 47, father of four, had been promoting reconciliation between Hutus and Tutsis, from the office of the Modeste and Innocent association, named after two of the many victims of the genocide.

Having received a Pax Christi award in 1998, Ntezimana is known in Switzerland, where he led the 1996 Lenten Campaign. Reports suggest Ntezimana could be accused of treason because of the association's activity, a crime punishable by death.

Ntezimana, a Hutu, lives in the Diocese of Butare. He is also the founder of a theological association. His commitment to ethnic reconciliation is seen as an obstacle by groups interested in maintaining tension to guarantee their hold on power.

The bishops of three episcopal conferences of Central Africa -- Rwanda, Burundi and Congo -- are meeting in Kinshasa, Congo. They say they believe that Ntezimana's case is an example of the attempt to suppress Church reconciliation initiatives.

Burundian Bishop Bernard Bududira said: "The Church is the first institution in proposing dialogue among the factions. It has been demonised by those who maintain that we defend the impunity of those accused of genocide."

LINKS
Laurien Ntezimana: "Work Of Reconciliation In Rwanda: The Confession of Detmold"

SOURCE
Zenit


13-Feb-02