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Priest recovers from attack

Locals believe assault was carried out by trio of ex-convicts

Priest recovers from attack
Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh of Kontum checking wounds on the back of Father Louis Gonzaga Nguyen Quang Hoa reporter, Kon Tum

February 27, 2012

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A priest from Kon Tum province in the Central Highlands is recovering after being badly beaten up recently. Father Louis Gonzaga Nguyen Quang Hoa, assistant priest of Kon Hring in Dak Ha district, was attacked by three men on February 23 after the priest conducted a funeral service in the village of Kon Hnong. “On the way back to my parish, three strangers on motorbikes came after me and beat me around the head, back, stomach and arms with two iron bars,” Father Hoa said yesterday. He said the continued to attack him after he came off his motorcycle and fled into a rubber plantation. They also damaged his motorbike and threw his watch into a nearby lake. Local villagers said the attackers had just been released from prison and were in their 20s. “We do not know why they attacked the priest,” a villager said. Another local priest said the authorities may have been behind the attack. They try to prevent local priests from providing liturgy services, even funerals, for villagers even though government regulations on religious activities allow priests to perform funeral services to followers at their homes, he said. Father Hoa, 46, had secretly conducted five funerals services for villagers before being attacked. He is currently being cared for by his parents at their home in Pleiku city. Related reports: Vietnam blocks bishop from pastoral visit        
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