Tag Archives: kenya

Scottish nuns send desperate plea for help from Kenyan mission

Timesonline January 8th, 2008 Melanie Reid 

A group of Franciscan nuns from Glasgow are trapped in desperate circumstances in their missionary compound in Kenya.

The sisters, who are sheltering 1,500 vulnerable people in the convent, faxed an emergency plea to the leader of Scotland’s Roman Catholics for help. Sister Kelly, the head of the order in Kericho, in the southwest of the country, said that she was protecting men, women and children from marauding gangs, but was running out of food and water.

The Sunday Herald reported that in a desperate communication to Cardinal Keith O’Brien in Glasgow, Sister Kelly said: “There are currently 1,500 people burnt out of their homes and many with HIV seeking refuge in the grounds of our convent, with no food and no sanitation.

“The Red Cross can’t get through because roads are blocked and a bridge on the main road blown up. The sisters are doing their best to persuade shop owners to open and allow them to buy enough food, but they are fearful of another Rwanda situation.

She added: “Police are shooting indiscriminately. Kiltegan Fathers in nearby Londiani are going out to collect the dead bodies of their parishioners, including men, women and children, from the streets. The situation is bad.”

Sister Placida, who comes from Greenock, also contacted the Fransciscan order’s headquarters in Glasgow, using her mobile phone. She told them of the fear and uncertainty the nuns faced as they tried to help sufering refugees.

“We seem to be safe for the meantime, but everyone is so scared. We all know about the mob in Eldoret when a mob set fire to a church where men, women and chidlren were sheltering.

“Yesterday four babies were born here in our mission while in another bed a woman is dying in agony from face cancer. Outside hundreds of tea plantation workers have been sacked from their jobs. We don’t know how long we can last in these conditions. With the roads being blocked little can get through to us.”

Another Scottish missionary, Father Tommy Docherty, from Glasgow, is said to be trapped in his home in Eldoret. He has told friends that he has been advised to remain indoors to avoid gangs on the streets.

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund has sent money for supplies to the missionaries, but banks and shops are closed.

Cardinal O’Brien, who left for Spain at the weekend to attend a meeting of bishops, has appealed to Scottish politicians for help. He told the paper: “I hope the leaders can be persuadeds to ask their people with some conviciton to stop the fighting and return Kenya to the peaceful happy land we know it to be.

“I visited Rwanda in January 2004 and saw for myself the horrors genocide can bring. My heart goes out to these poor people frightened for their lives in the torubled townships of Kenya.”

The Cardinal said he would to fly to Kenya himself as soon as possible to visit the missionaries.

Pope Benedict XVI’ Warns of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Hands of Terrorists

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict urged the world Monday to prevent terrorists from getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction.

In an annual speech to Vatican-based diplomats outlining the Holy See’s foreign policy priorities, Benedict also called for continued diplomatic efforts over Iran’s nuclear program.

“I wish to urge the international community to make a global commitment on security,” he said.

“A joint effort on the part of states to implement all the obligations undertaken and to prevent terrorists from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction would undoubtedly strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime and make it more effective.” The Pope backed continuing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, which the U.S. and it allies fear is aimed at building atomic weapons. Tehran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

“I should also like to express my support for continued and uninterrupted pursuit of the path of diplomacy in order to resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, by negotiating in good faith, adopting measures designed to increase transparency and mutual trust,” he said.

There has been speculation that the United States or Israel might launch a military strike against Iran.

Benedict also told the foreign ambassadors that measures must be taken to reduce conventional weapons and to deal with the humanitarian problems caused by cluster weapons.

Cluster bombs open in flight and scatter dozens of bomblets, some of which fail to explode and pose a risk to civilians even after a conflict has ended.

In his speech, the Pope also condemned the frequent attacks suffered by Iraq’s Christian community, saying the country needs to undertake a constitutional reform that will safeguard the rights of minorities.

Benedict touched on many of the world’s crises, appealing for peace and dialogue in hotspots including the Middle East, Kenya, Sudan’s Darfur region and Myanmar.

Francis Rooney, the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, said the Pope’s message showed that the Vatican and the United States have the same foreign policy goals.

“We both place great importance on stopping the spread of terrorism and violence, aiding Christians who are under threat in many parts of the world today, and seeing an end to poverty and hunger which plague so much of Africa,” Rooney said in a statement.

Benedict noted that this month marks the 10th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s historic pilgrimage to Cuba, and recalled how his predecessor “encouraged all Cubans to work together for a better future.”

“I should like to reiterate this message of hope, which has lost none of its relevance,” Benedict said in his speech, which was delivered in French.

The Pope also reached out to countries that do not have diplomatic relations with the Vatican and urged them to establish ties. He did not name the countries but the mention is seen by diplomats as referring especially to China, with which Benedict is attempting to restore diplomatic relations severed after the 1949 communist revolution.