Annan pays tribute to Monsignor brutally murdered in Burundi

29 December 2003

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today expressed his shock and sadness at the murder of Monsignor Michael Courtney, the Apostolic Nuncio in Burundi.

The Vatican’s representative was killed earlier today following a road ambush near the town of Minago in Bururi province, about 50 kilometres south of the capital Bujumbura.

“The Secretary-General recognized the quiet and effective manner in which the Monsignor had been helping the peace process in Burundi,” Mr. Annan said through his spokesman.

The peace process in Burundi has been gradually emerging this year after a decade of civil conflict that left between 250,000 and 300,000 people dead. Last month the country’s transitional government and its largest armed rebel group signed a ceasefire agreement.

Mr. Annan said he hoped the perpetrators of the Monsignor’s murder would be brought to justice, and offered his condolences to the surviving family members and to the Pope.


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