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Indonesian priest injured in Madagascar robbery

Armed men slash Divine Word Father Alexander Dhae with machetes during night raid on his monastery

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta

Published: September 15, 2021 05:27 AM GMT

Updated: September 15, 2021 05:31 AM GMT

Indonesian priest injured in Madagascar robbery

Indonesian Divine Word Father Alexander Dhae was attacked during a robbery at his monastery in Madagascar on Sept 12. (Photo supplied)

 

An Indonesian missionary priest who has worked in Madagascar for more than 30 years has been seriously injured following an attempted robbery at his monastery.

Father Alexander Dhae, 61, who hails from Flores, in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province and who is now the Regional Superior of the Society of Divine Word (SVD) in Madagascar, was attacked at the monastery in Mananjary, about 12 hours south-east of Antananarivo, the country's capital, on Sept. 12.

A 36-year-old Madagascan priest, Father Randrianirina Borice, was also injured during the robbery.

Father Jacques Zdzisław Grad, secretary of the Divine Word Mission in Madagascar, said a group of assailants raided the monastery at around 8:30pm armed with machetes and iron bars.

"Before entering, they attacked and knocked a guard unconscious preventing him from warning the 11 occupants," he told UCA News via email on Sept. 14.

He said they then went straight to Father Dhae’s office and attacked him, slashing him across the head, legs and arms.

Father Borice was attacked when he went to the Indonesian priest’s aid.

The robbers fled soon after with valuables, telephones and a small amount of cash.

Father Grad said the two injured priests, covered in blood, managed to get to their car and go to the bishop’s residence.

“From there they were taken to hospital. Both confreres lost a lot of blood as a result of deep wounds,” he said.

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Both were now in stable condition, he added.

Police were investigating and had yet to comment on the case.

Father Gad said Father Dhae first arrived in Madagascar in 1989 with four other Indonesian priests as part of an SVD mission to the country.

Father Hubertus Tenga, head of missionary affairs at the SVD Ende Provincial Mission Secretariat in Indonesia, to which Father Dhae belongs, said the attack had “deeply shocked them and the priest's family.”

“He has since been in contact and said he had lost a finger in the attack," he said.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry was offering assistance to Father Dhae with the help of several Catholic lawmakers.

“Embassy officials will update us on Father Dhae’s condition and progress in the case,” Father Tenga said.

He said this was not the first attack experienced by missionaries from SVD Ende Province.

“There have been attacks on missionaries serving in Brazil, Italy and several other countries. But, this was the most brutal."

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