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They never said spreading the Word would be easy, sometimes it requires giving up your life. Too Bad..

Papal envoy murdered in Burundi
December 29, 2003

The Vatican's ambassador to Burundi has been shot dead inside the country, papal sources have confirmed.

Papal nuncio Michael Courtney, 58, an Irish national, was reportedly ambushed in the south of the country.

He was travelling by car with three other passengers when they were allegedly sprayed with gunfire.

The Vatican expressed "deep sorrow" at the diplomat's death. It declined to release details until the nuncio's family had been informed.

Monsignor Courtney was reported to have died on the operating table in the capital's Prince Louis Rwagasaore hospital at around 1600 local time (1400 GMT).

"We were trying everything we could to save him. We were trying to extract the bullets and he died while we were operating," an employee at the hospital told AFP news agency.


Rebels blamed

Chief of army staff General Germain Niyoyankana had told the agency earlier that rebels from the National Liberation Forces (FNL) were behind the attack.

But the FNL, which has refused to sign up to peace deals, denied the accusation.

Mariano Benni of the Missionary Service News Agency told CNN several sources said the killing was an accident.

Monsignor Courtney had reportedly served as ambassador to Burundi since 2000.

It is not yet clear whether he was involved in any peace negotiations.

Some 300,000 people have been killed in Burundi's decade-old civil war, in which rebels of the majority Hutu group are fighting to end dominance of the Tutsi minority.
 
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