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Priest and girl killed in grenade attack during Mass in Congo

A priest and an eight-year-old girl have been killed after a grenade was thrown into a church in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The grenade was hurled into the church during Mass in rebel-controlled Goma.

Fifteen other people, including a bishop, have been wounded. The bishop sustained minor shrapnel injuries to his legs, but was able to conduct the service.

The attack came when the Catholic bishop was leading a Palm Sunday procession into a makeshift church, said Jean Pierre Lola Kisanga, spokesman of the Rwandan-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy, or RCD.

Rebel authorities remain "clueless" about the identity of the assailants, said Kisanga.

The RCD is increasing the number of its patrols in the town, and has questioned four people who live near the church, he said.

"This was an unprecedented terrorist attack that apparently targeted the Catholic bishop leading the Mass," Kisanga said. "Apparently, the motive was to provoke social unrest and instability in areas under our control."

Grenades on Palm Sunday procession: two dead, bishop among dozen wounded (Fides)


26 Mar 2002