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Brazil Fugitives Held in Kidnaping of Church Leader

March 19, 1994|Reuters

RIO DE JANEIRO — Nine of 14 fugitive prisoners who held Roman Catholic Cardinal Dom Aloisio Lorscheider hostage during a jail break have been captured, police officials said Friday.

Police shot and killed one of the fugitives Friday morning and another, Roberto Francisco de Aguiar Muniz, was wounded, said military police Col. Nilson Evangelista by telephone from Quixada, in northeastern Brazil.

Muniz, who is from Quixada, reportedly served as a guide to the fugitives as they hid in the surrounding hills. "Now that they have lost their leader, it should be easy to catch the remaining five," Evangelista said.

Lorscheider, the 69-year-old Archbishop of Fortaleza and onetime candidate for Pope, was taken hostage with 12 other people at knifepoint Tuesday while visiting a maximum-security jail.

The hostages were released unharmed after police chased an armored van that was used to carry the prisoners and their captives out of the jail in Fortaleza, 90 miles north of Quixada.

The police chase continued as the fugitive inmates abandoned the van and fled on foot to the hills known as Serra Azul.

Police captured six of the hungry and exhausted fugitives Thursday and the other three Friday.

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