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Zambia expels priest over poverty sermon

Africa

Lusaka - Zambia has expelled a Catholic Rwandan cleric for allegedly inciting violence after a sermon where he said the poor were getting poorer while the rich got richer, a minister said on Thursday.

“A Rwandese priest based at Lundazi parish identified as Father Viateur Banyangandora, aged 40, has been deported to his country of origin for violating the laws of this country,” Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu said in a statement.

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Bishop Robert Finn, of Kansas City, Mo., leaves a meeting at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall assembly in Baltimore, Monday, Nov. 14, 2011. Finn was indicted in October for waiting five months to tell police about hundreds of images of alleged child pornography that were found on a priest's computer. He is the highest-ranking church member in the sex abuse scandal to face criminal charges. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A parishioner from Lundazi, an eastern town near the border with Malawi, told AFP on the phone that Banyangandora during last Sunday's mass said that poor people were becoming poorer while the rich were getting richer, a move he said was tantamount to injustice which the Catholic Church detests.

Lungu said the clergy had violated the country's immigration laws as his “conduct was found to be a danger to peace and good order in Zambia.”

Banyangandora was picked from Lundazi, about 850 kilometers (530 miles) from Lusaka, and brought to the capital for questioning.

“The priest who was picked and brought to Lusaka on Monday by a team of immigration officers for interviews, was deported yesterday (Wednesday) to Rwanda.

He had been preaching in Zambia since November 2006. - Sapa-AFP

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