Monday, November 29, 2010

Five Christians killed in a landmine blast in Kandhamal, Orissa

Five Christians, including a pregnant woman and a child, were killed in a landmine blast in Orissa on Saturday.

The blast occurred around 11 p.m. on Saturday at Bamumigam, a village in Kandhamal district, the focus of months-long anti-Christian violence two years ago.

The deceased were returning to their village of Tajungia in an ambulance from a hospital where the woman had gone for checkup. The blast also killed her husband, a health worker and the driver.

Parts of their bodies were found some 500 meters away and the blast created a 10 feet deep crater on the road.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast but police suspect Maoists. Others suspect other radical groups may be to blame.

The blast is believed to be the first attack on an ambulance in Orissa. A running battle between Maoists and security forces has been going on in the state for some time.

On Nov. 25, Maoists allegedly killed Manoj Kumar Sahu, a contractor, in the same area of the landmine blast.

Church workers have condemned the blast.

“Whatever happened is unfortunate,” said Divine Word Father Nicholas Barla, a tribal activist. Targeting “innocent lives reflects lawlessness and it has to stop,” the priest told on Nov. 29.

Sister Justine Senapti, a human rights activist, said the blast is condemnable whoever was behind it. “Since we cannot create life, we have no right to take it away,” the St. Joseph of Annecy nun added.

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