Paris, France, Aug 9, 2021 / 05:40 am
A 40-year-old Rwandan immigrant already suspected of starting a devastating fire at a French cathedral was questioned by police in connection with the murder of a Catholic priest on Monday in western France.
The man, identified by the media as Emmanuel Abayisenga, was welcomed into a Catholic religious community led by the victim, Fr. Olivier Maire, 61, in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre, a commune in the Vendée department.
Abayisenga reportedly met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2016, four years before he was arrested by police and later released on bail following the fire on July 18, 2020, at the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul of Nantes, where he worked as a volunteer warden.
The murder of Maire, the French provincial superior of the Montfort Missionaries (the Company of Mary), was announced on Aug. 9 by the country’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.