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Suspects Sought in Shooting Death of Catholic Priest in Zanzibar

Father Evarist Mushi was shot and killed on his way to say Mass Feb. 17 in the territory that is part of Tanzania.

BY CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY

| Posted 2/21/13 at 9:41 AM

 

According to Paolo Taffuri, the coordinator of Radio Maria Africa, officials in Tanzania are continuing their search for those responsible for the recent death of a local priest.

“When the priest was heading to Mass on Sunday, two men on a motorcycle approached him and shot him in the head, killing him instantly,” Taffuri said. “So far, no arrests have been made, and police are investigating the motive behind the murder.”

Father Evarist Mushi was killed on Feb. 17 in Zanzibar. Cardinal Polycarp Pengo will celebrate the funeral Mass for Father Mushi at the Zanzibar Cathedral.

Taffuri said that Tanzania “has always been very peaceful” and that people of different faiths living together in harmony has been a strength of the country.

But recently, he cautioned, violence has increasingly broken out in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean.

“In October of last year, Muslim extremists held violent demonstrations in Dar es Salaam, which were repressed and controlled by the police,” he said.

“The violent episodes have been more frequent in Zanzibar,” he explained. “It is believed that Muslim extremists from abroad are responsible, but they do not at all represent the Muslim majority, much less the Muslim authorities.”

Taffuri also said that Father Ambrose Mkenda, another priest who was attacked the day before Christmas last year, “is still alive and remains hospitalized.”

Government officials and the police are working to control the problem of violence, he added.

“Peace will triumph in Tanzania,” he said. “We pray for peace and that the Virgin Mary will be with us.”