LDS leaders attacked in Africa
Elder Russell M. Nelson

This is an archived story from May 2009. 


Elder Russell M. Nelson of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife were attacked Friday evening while on a church assignment in Mozambique.

The Nelsons were having dinner with William W. Parmley of the church's Africa Southeast Area Presidency and his wife in the home of Blair J. Packard, president of the church's Mozambique Maputo Mission. According to a statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spokesman Scott Trotter, armed assailants entered the home and robbed them. Packard's wife's arm was broken and others suffered some superficial injuries such as cuts and bruises.

During the attack, the assailants reportedly took the mission president's Rolex watch and a cell phone, and Nelson was reportedly kicked in the face. The day after the attack, the Nelsons reportedly attended a stake conference meeting in the area as they had planned.

Trotter said the church doesn't have complete information yet and that local authorities are looking into the incident. But he said the Nelsons will continue their assignment over the weekend as planned. Members of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles frequently travel to minister to the church's worldwide membership.

Mozambique is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world, with life expectancy and infant mortality among the world's worst. The U.S. Embassy in Maputo has issued several warnings to American travelers in the past few years about crime and civil disturbances in the city, Mozambique's largest.

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