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Brothers of Bugobe killed for refusing to leave their people

 

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Four Spanish Brothers and two Belgian Brothers

31/10/2017: Dem. Rep. of the Congo

We remember Brothers Fernando de la Fuente, Julio Rodríguez Jorge, Miguel Angel Isla Lucio and Servando Mayor García, who were martyred on Oct. 31, 1996, in Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Marist calendar contains an antecedent: Brothers Christian Ettinger, provincial, and Lucien Vandamme, both of Belgium, were also killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1964 when this territory was part of the Marist Congo-Rwanda province.

The four Spanish Brothers lived in Bugobe and were killed in 1996 when tensions from the neighbouring Rwandan Civil War and genocide spilled over.

Two of the Brothers were from Valladolid, the other two from Burgos.

They were killed in their house, located in the refugee camp of Nyamirangwe, around 8pm. It remains unclear if they were shot or killed with machetes.

According to an article published in El Pais on Nov. 13, 1996, the murderers were Hutu militias of the former Rwandan regime, who raided the house of the Brothers, ransacked it and violently killed the four Brothers. The perpetrators remained in the house for several days, preventing others to access the place.

The few witnesses, who were nearby, reported seeing the soldiers wear the brothers’ clothes, such as Fernando’s anorak and Julio’s glasses and shirts.

They threw their bodies in a sewage well, several metres deep. Their bodies were recovered on Nov. 14 and were buried in the novitiate house of the Brothers in Nyangezi.

Their cases are pending an investigation into the possibility of canonization.

There are so far 115 Marists Martyrs who have been beatified. Two lay Marists and 66 Brothers were beatified on Oct. 13, 2013, and 47 Brothers on Oct. 28, 2007 – all were killed during the Spanish civil war.

For the biography of the four Brothers click here.

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