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Burundi vows justice for slain Irish archbishop
Cat : Chez Les Autres
Date : 2006-08-01 17:31:22                      Reader : 271

Both drop down State terrorism.

Reuters 1/8/2006

Burundi vows justice for slain Irish archbishop


BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - Burundi pledged on Tuesday to track down gunmen who killed an Irish archbishop in a 2003 ambush blamed on rebels in the tiny central African nation.

"We can't let this crime go unpunished. We promise to do whatever possible to bring those criminals to justice," government spokesman Karenga Ramadhani said at the unveiling of a memorial to Archbishop Michael Courtney.

Burundi's Catholic Church has fixed a cross and a photo of Courtney, who was also the Vatican's envoy, at the spot on a roadside 40 km (25 miles) south of Bujumbura where he died.

Courtney, 58, was shot dead by gunmen believed to be from the Hutu Forces for National Liberation (FNL), who are Burundi's last remaining rebel group after a long civil war.

He died just months after the largest rebel group, led by current President Pierre Nkurunziza, signed a new peace deal, bringing some stability to Burundi.

Courtney was closely linked to the peace process and in June 2003 negotiated the release of hostages taken by Nkurunziza's Forces for Defence and Democracy (FDD) rebels.

"Three years after the assassination of Michael Courtney, the truth is not yet known," Jean Ntagwarara, chairman of Burundi's Catholic Bishops' Conference, told local media.

"Early investigations had incriminated fighters from FNL of being responsible. Unfortunately no trial was held."

At least 300,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in over a decade of brutal civil war pitting the politically and economically dominant Tutsis against majority Hutus.

Burundi's Catholic Church has decreed 29 December -- the day Courtney died -- as a day of remembrance.

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