Nun killer suspect: convent was on my land

The man arrested for raping and murdering three elderly Italian nuns in a convent in Burundi has reportedly confessed to the crime, claiming that the convent was on land that belonged to his family, local police said on Tuesday.

Nun killer suspect: convent was on my land
Photos (from left to right) show Olga Raschietti, Bernadette Boggia and Lucia Pulici: Missionaire di Maria/AFP

The 33-year-old, who has not been named, on Tuesday confessed to local police that he had raped and murdered three Roman Catholic nuns at a convent in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi.

“I raped them then I killed them,” he reportedly told police, according to Tgcom24, because “they are foreigners who are occupying my property.”

The man was found with a key to the convent and a mobile telephone belonging to one of the nuns, according to police sources.

Police said Lucia Pullici, 75, and Olga Raschietti, 83, were stabbed to death on Sunday afternoon, with the killer then battering one of the two with a rock.

Hours later, before dawn on Monday, another nun, Bernardetta Boggian, aged 79, was killed in the same convent, her body beaten and her head hacked off.

It is still not clear how the killer managed to enter the convent and kill the third nun without being stopped by the police at the scene.

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

According to Tgcom24, the alleged killer spent a large part of his life in Congo and returned to Burundi eight years ago.

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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‘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.