Reports say man shot as police protect ousted Bishop Kunonga's service

kunonga.jpg Bishop Nolbert Kunonga
The Zimbabwe Journalists website reports that a Harare man was shot and injured by police, who were protecting a rebel service held by ousted Bishop Nolbert Kunonga's people. Police fought running battles with parishioners in Budiriro and G

Controversial Bishop Kunonga was excommunicated in 2007 from the
church, after he attempted to unilaterally withdraw the Diocese of
Harare from the Central African Province. He was replaced by Bishop
Sebastian Bakare but has since used youth militia and the police to
chase away Anglican parishioners loyal to the new bishop.

Bishop Bakare told Newsreel the formation of the coalition government
has done nothing to stop the lawlessness affecting the Anglican Church.
He said for the past 4 weeks their services have been disrupted by
Kunonga's thugs, who have no following within the parishes.

On Sunday two priests, a church warden, a youth member and another
church member, all loyal to Bishop Bakare, were arrested during the
skirmishes. Bakare said the police are openly telling them they are out
in full force to protect Kunonga and his people.

Bakare began the defiance last week in Mabvuku when he defied attempts
by riot police to remove him from the altar during a service. The riot
police however turned on the parishioners, driving them away from the
church. He told Newsreel he urged his parishioners to defy the police
and reclaim their churches.

On Sunday the members of the different parishes did exactly that, but
riot police were deployed to suppress them. Angry parishioners demanded
to know why the police were protecting Kunonga and some sang church
hymns outside.

Some started throwing stones at the police as the police used force to
try and force the parishioners out of the church yard and building.
Gunshots were subsequently fired resulting in a local who was relaxing
at his home being shot and injured in the arm,' the Zimbabwe
Journalists website reported. Bishop Bakare said he was still trying to
verify the details of the shooting, but confirmed the skirmishes,
saying they were quite serious.

Kunonga triggered controversy after publicly backing Mugabe’s violent
land grab and began a campaign to intimidate all opponents in the
church. Many fled the country after receiving death threats. A church
trial against him for abuse of church funds and intimidation collapsed,
under very technical circumstances. Kunonga grabbed a farm from one of
his parishioners with the blessing of the Mugabe regime, effectively
confirming his alliance with regime.

SWRadio Africa

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