Madagascar: A Priest Assassinated

Source: FSSPX News

The repeated attacks on consecrated persons in Madagascar came to a head with the murder of a Capuchin priest on the night of April 22-23, 2017, a dramatic event that is aggravated by an extremely tense climate between the Church and the State.

A few weeks after the theft – followed by serious abuse of the sisters – in the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of La Salette in Antsahatanteraka, there was an armed attack on the Catholic church of Antsohihy. The criminals were after the church’s bell. Bell thefts have become more and more common, the goal being to melt down the metal and sell it on the black market.

Those in charge of the church had already taken the precaution of placing the bell in a secure area in order to avoid this sort of a loss. This was the third attempt at stealing the bell.

On the night of April 22 to 23, the assailants first attacked a deacon, who was hit by a bullet in the rib cage. The situation went downhill when Fr. Lucien Njiva – a 46-year-old Capuchin – came to the deacon’s rescue, weapon in hand. The bandits shot at him and he was killed on the spot. The deacon was rushed to the hospital of Antsohihy, and fortunately is not in danger of death.

Fr. Germain Rajoelison, Secretary General of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Madagascar, expressed the local church’s disquiet at the repeated attacks and thefts in cities and in the countryside. The Christian places of worship and the faithful are also worried.

Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly, while visiting Antsohihy, set off an intense controversy by claiming that there are “political reasons” behind these sacrilegious acts of violence on the sisters and the murder of the Capuchin priest.

The repeated attacks on religious in the country must be understood in the context of the destruction caused by corruption and the economic crisis: the Church’s relations with the political power are tense and she does not hesitate to criticize the prevailing corruption. The political power has been in a strugglewith the Church for several months now, trying to appropriatesome of her temporal goods.

Sources: Fides – FSSPX.News 5/9/17