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CRIME

Burundi police arrest man over murder of nuns

Police in Burundi have arrested a man for killing and raping three elderly Italian nuns murdered in twin attacks in their convent, the police spokesman said on Tuesday.

"The suspected murderer of the three sisters is in our hands," Colonel Helmegilde Harimenshi said, adding the suspect had "confessed".

The suspect reportedly acted alone, Harimenshi said.

Initial reports said the man who carried out the first attack killing two nuns on Sunday afternoon fled the scene.

The second attack in the convent took place in the early hours of Monday morning.

The man arrested, who has not been named, was found with a key to the convent and a mobile telephone belonging to one of the nuns, according to police sources.

The three Roman Catholic nuns were named as Olga Raschietti, 83, Lucia Pulici, 75, and Bernadetta Boggian, aged 79.

Police said two nuns were stabbed to death, with the killer then battering one of the two with a rock.

Hours later, before dawn on Monday, another nun in the same convent was killed, her body beaten and head hacked off.

Pope Francis on Monday issued his condolences.

"The Holy Father begs the Lord to welcome into his kingdom of peace and light these three faithful and devout nuns," he said in a statement.

Burundian Vice-President Prosper Bazombanza has said the government was "appalled by such barbarity".

In 2011, a Croatian nun and an Italian charity worker were killed in an apparent botched robbery in northern Burundi.

The small nation in Africa's Great Lakes region emerged in 2006 from 13 years of brutal civil war and its political climate remains fractious ahead of presidential polls due in June 2015.

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ROME

‘Bank robber’ rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

Four people were arrested in Rome after a suspected would-be bank robber was rescued from a tunnel under a road, police said on Friday.

'Bank robber' rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

An Italian man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican, suspected of being part of a gang burrowing its way to a nearby bank.

Firefighters spent eight hours digging him out from under a road in the west of Rome, before he was finally freed on Thursday evening and taken to hospital.

“Two people from Naples were arrested for resisting a public official and two, from Rome, for damage” to public property, a police spokesman told AFP.

The rescued man, one of the two Romans, remains in hospital, he said without giving an update on his condition.

“We are still investigating, we do not exclude that they are thieves, it is one of the theories,” he said.

For Italian newspapers, however, the motive was clear, with reports noting the tunnel was found near a bank ahead of the August 15th long weekend, when residents traditionally head out of town and much of Rome is left empty.

“The hole gang,” headlined newspapers Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, while La Stampa said: “They dig a tunnel to rob a bank, and one of them is buried underground.”

Other reports referred to the suspected burglar as l’uomo-talpa, or ‘mole man’.

An AFP reporter at the scene on Thursday saw the man brought out alive on a stretcher, after a day-long operation involving dozens of emergency service workers using mechanical diggers.

The tunnel began underneath an empty shop that had recently been rented.

“We all thought that the people there were renovating the place. So we had no suspicions and we did not hear noises either,” a resident, Michele, who lives in the same building told AFP.

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