Forces loyal to Congo President Laurent Kabila kidnapped two Italian priests in the mission of Baraka in the eastern part of the country formerly known as Zaire. Fr Elia Leita, 60, and Fr Pietro Mazzochin, 64, both of the Xavierian congregation, have been missing since a raid on the mission more than two weeks ago.
    "Baraka was conquered by Kabila's forces," reported Fr Rino Benzoni of the Xavierian Center in Rome. "Eight days later, the city returned to the hands of the opposition. After sacking the mission, Kabila's followers kidnapped two missionaries, of whom we have had no further news."
    Lisena Leita, Fr. Elia's sister, holds out hope that the two priests are in friendly hands. "We hope Father Elia and Father Pietro have met up with the Catholics who have gone to live in the jungle, whom they have cooperated with in the past, and that they might be able to get help," she said.

12:18pm 26/5/99 / Zenit


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