04/02/2007, 00.00
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Priest killed in the North, the motive remains a mystery

Four farmers from Ralinga province surrounded Fr. Francis Madhu, a native of Flores, as he was preparing to celebrate Palm Sunday mass. They shot him five times, killing him instantly.

Tabuk (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An Indonesian Catholic priest was shot to death by four armed men as he was preparing to celebrate Palm Sunday mass  in Lubuagan, a city in the western province of Kalinga.  The reason for the killing is unknown.   

According to Col. Francis Lardizabal, commander in chief of the local police, Fr.  Francis Madhu (31) was shot five times in the chest with an M16 rifle, killing him instantly.   

Ralinga Chief of police, Severino Cruz, added that one of the accused  a local farmer, Nestor Wailan, shouted at the priest “Are you ready?” and then shot him.

His parishioners describe Fr. Madhu – native of Flores – as friendly, accessible and always caring of the communities needs.  The apostolic vicar of Tabuk, Msgr. Prudencio Andaya, has travelled to Lubuagan to claim the priest’s body for burial.   

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