Three Italian nuns killed in Burundi, pope 'deeply saddened'

Two of women reportedly had throats slit

(ANSA) - Vatican City, September 8 - Pope Francis said Monday that he was "deeply affected" after three Xaverian nuns working as missionaries in Burundi were killed. The three nuns, named as Luci Pulici, 75; Olga Raschietti, 82; and Bernardetta Boggian, 79; were killed at their convent in Kamenge, a suburb of the capital, Bujumbura. "Deeply saddened by the tragic death of the Xaverian missionary sisters killed in Burundi, the Holy Father wishes to assure his heartfelt participation in the profound suffering of the congregation for the loss of such dedicated sisters and, in the hope that the blood they have shed may become the seed of hope to build true fraternity between peoples, he raises fervent prayers for the eternal repose of their souls and for their generous witness of the gospel," read a message to the Xaverian order.
    "To their families, the entire institute and those who mourn their loss, he imparts the comfort of his apostolic blessing.
    Two of the three Italian nuns were found with their throats slit, an anonymous police official was quoted as saying by media. Kamenge Mayor Damien Baseka said two nuns were killed "savagely". The bodies of Pulici and Raschietti, were found on Sunday, while Boggian's was found early on Monday, Vatican radio said.
    Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini expressed condolences overnight, and said the killings brought "great pain".
    "We're once again witness to the sacrifices made by those who, with complete dedication, spend their entire lives relieving the overwhelming suffering that still exists in Africa," Mogherini said.
    Church sources said initial reports indicated that the killings could be the result of a robbery that went wrong.
    Vatican radio said the three nuns had been working among the sick and poor in Burundi for seven years. Prior to that, they had been missionaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Raschietti had spent 50 years in Africa.