Churches in ZAMBIA are in shock after the murder of Florianna Trelli, a Roman Catholic nun who worked among Zambia's poor for almost 30 years. Zambia's main church organizations have publicly condemned the killing, saying that security for missions is extremely poor near the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola.
Sister Florianna, 50, came from Italy to Zambia in 1972. Since 1996 she had been working at the St. Francis Mission Hospital near Solwezi, a town close to Angola and the DRC. Police believe that on October 7, Sister Florianna was driving her new Toyota van when she was ambushed by five bandits, who wanted her car.
Catholic Church spokesman Father Ignatius Mwebe has called for immediate action by the authorities. "The government must do something quickly because missionary work is important to these rural people," he told Ecumenical News International.
Two people have been arrested, though no firm evidence links them to the attack.
Three Muslim extremists have been arrested and interrogated about a TAJIKISTAN church bombing that killed at least nine members of the church and injured more than 70 others, according to Baptist Press. The Korean-led Sonmin Grace Church located in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, was bombed October 1 as church members gathered for Sunday worship.
Authorities did not allow anyone to visit the gutted building for a week. Once it was reopened, aid workers, concerned Christians, and U.S. embassy representatives toured the church's remains. One friend of the church said, "I can't quite describe the feeling of seeing a mural of our Lord, splattered with the blood of his martyrs."
For undisclosed reasons, local Tajik authorities unexpectedly arrested 12 church leaders as potential suspects. Now freed, these leaders said they were questioned about the bombing, as well as plans they had for evangelization. Some were asked to renounce their Christian beliefs in exchange for release.
Threats had previously been made against Sonmin Grace Church and its pastor, Korean-American Yun Seop Choi. Tajikistan is still recovering after a five-year war ended in 1997 with a peace agreement between the neocommunist government and an Islamic-inspired opposition. More than 95 percent of the 6 million Tajiks are Sunni Muslims.
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