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Hostages seized from Swiss mission in Angola

Thirty-four people have been seized from a Swiss mission station in Angola. The incident took place on Tuesday, when armed men stormed the building and took 14 missionaries hostage, along with 20 others.

The hostages, who are all Angolan citizens, were seized after armed men stormed the mission station in Ganda at around five o’clock on Tuesday morning. Two monks and 12 nuns were taken, along with 20 women, children and elderly people.

Father Emanuel Brülisauer, who oversees the nine Swiss missions in Angola from his St Gallen parish, said the attack was assumed to be the work of Unita rebels, but that nothing had been heard from the kidnappers.

“We simply don’t know who took them or where they are. All we can do is hope they are returned safely.”

The mission station in Ganda has been attacked on several occasions, but this is the first time hostages have been taken.

The mission belongs to the Catholic order, Missionaries of La Salette, which has been working in Angola since 1946. They have nine stations, with more than half located in conflict zones.

Angola has been torn apart by a long-running civil war between the socialist government in Luanda and rebels led by Jonas Savimbi’s Unita movement.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR