Subject: AP: Bishop Belo to work as missionary in Mozambique

June 8, 2004 4:14am

Associated Press WorldStream

DILI, East Timor_East Timor's former Roman Catholic bishop, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, will move to Mozambique and become a missionary after he fully recovers from a recent illness, a religious official said Tuesday.

"We are very proud," said Father Filomene Jacob, an official at the Dili diocese. "We are sending off our best son to do missionary work in this African nation."

Belo, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his nonviolent resistance to Indonesia's 24-year occupation of his homeland, will be based in Maputo, Mozambique's capital. It was not clear when he will leave.

Both East Timor and Mozambique were colonized by the Portuguese. Many East Timorese fled to Mozambique during Indonesian rule, including current Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. Portuguese is the official language of both countries.

Belo was the spiritual leader of East Timor's 800,000 people during the Indonesian occupation, which ended in 1999 after it voted for freedom in a U.N.-sponsored referendum.

Belo stepped down as bishop in November 2002 after undergoing undisclosed medical treatment in Portugal. Last year, he had surgery to remove a benign tumor on his prostate gland.

He is currently in Macao researching a book about his resistance to Indonesia's brutal rule, during which an estimated 100,000 people were killed due to war, food shortages and disease.


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