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Uganda - Ireland - 2002-03-27

Ireland has expressed concern over the hasty executions of two soldiers for the murder of an Irish missionary priest in northeastern Uganda last week.

The Associated Press quotes Foreign Affairs Minister Liz O'Donnell in Dublin as saying Irish diplomats in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, had tried to talk to President Yoweri Museveni to request clemency for the soldiers.

The two, a corporal and a private, were publicly executed by a firing squad on Monday, within hours of their military court-martial.

Father Declan O'Toole, his driver and a parish employee were murdered last Thursday in a roadside ambush near the northeastern Ugandan district of Kotido, about 350 kilometers from Kampala.

The Reverend O'Toole's religious order in Uganda, the Mill Hill Missionaries, said in a statement that the priest had stumbled upon an army effort on March 9th to disarm local villagers in Nakaperimoru, part of his parish.

The slain priest wrote in a letter released today (Wednesday) that the soldiers were committing "torture." He said he was beaten by one soldier.

The religious order has appealed to President Museveni for a full investigation into the reverend's murder.