The SIR news agency is reporting that Father Nicholas Pillai Packiya Ranjith, a diocesan missionary priest, was killed in Sri Lanka by a mine detonated by remote control.
Father Ranjith coordinated the activities of the Jesuit Refugees Service, an international humanitarian organization of the Jesuits of the Diocese of Mannar, which is located in southern Sri Lanka.
At the time of the homicide, he was taking food and first aid supplies to an orphanage and to refugee camps in Vidathaltheevu.
According to the Jesuit Relief Service of Colombo, the priest was surprised by the explosion in a region controlled by the Tamil Homeland Liberation group. His assistant, Christopher Jujin, who was also riding in the truck that displayed a white flag, is listed in critical condition.
The Diocese of Mannar issued a statement saying, “It’s not clear yet who committed the act but no matter who it was, we strongly condemn these acts of violence against the innocent.” Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo said, “Father Ranjith was a fearless, young and dynamic priest who always fought for the cause of justice. His death is an irreparable loss for
the entire family of the Jesuit Relief Service.”
Since the outbreak of civil war in Sri Lanka in 1983, 68,000 people have been killed, 5,000 of which died in 2006, after the end of a four year-long truce.