Filipino priest hurt in burglars’ attack in Papua New Guinea

Filipino priest hurt in burglars’ attack in Papua New Guinea

Nuns visit Vincentian Fr. Manny Lapaz at a hospital where he was confined for several days in Papua New Guinea’s Alotau Town. PHOTO COURTESY OF CATHOLIC PROFESSIONALS PNG

By CBCP News

April 2, 2021

Manila, Philippines

A Filipino Vincentian priest was sent to the hospital after being assaulted by intruders at a priests’ home in Papua New Guinea.

Fr. Manny Lapaz was among those seriously hurt when 15 men forcibly entered the residence, where 11 priests and a deacon were staying, in Alotau Town on March 19.

Bishop Rolando Santos, also a Filipino Vincentian, said that at least seven of his priests were injured in the attack.

He said that Lapaz “lost a lot of blood after receiving continuous bashing on the head”.

The priest has recently been discharged from a hospital where he was confined for several days.

Another priest, he said, was also stabbed, “barely missing his heart”, while the face of another young local cleric was swollen from punches.

“The others sustained minor injuries. All were traumatized by the attack,” the prelate said.

The Tommy Bakers’ gang members then fled with laptops, mobile phones, cash and other valuables they could find.

The burglars also carted away a new outboard engine and solar panels that priests use in remote mission areas where there is no electricity.

“We are very much saddened and decry the violence and loss of property that happened in Alotau Town,” Santos said.

The bishop then appealed for dialogue to restore peace and order in the area.

“Differences should be settled peacefully and due respect given to the rights and dignity of every person,” he said.

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