Monday, June 1, 2009

Maputo LDS Mission President Blair Packard Speaks Out On Home Invasion In Mozambique; Russell M. Nelson Returning To Utah

For the first time, the President of the Maputo Mozambique Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is speaking out directly about the home invasion to which he and his guests, including Apostle Russell M. Nelson, were subjected to on Friday May 29th, 2009, and discussed in my previous post. The full story has been published by KSL Channel 5.

The Packards assure family and friends of about 70 missionaries that they feel what happened in the mission home in Maputo, Mozambique was "an isolated armed robbery" and that they will be "reviewing all security and safety procedures". In a statement, the Packards said, "Four armed gunmen overpowered our one guard … We were threatened verbally and physically. Cindy was roughed up but finally did get away to warn other guards and neighbors who came to our assistance. She suffered a fracture in her left elbow ... other bruises and skinned knees. Elder Nelson was accosted as well but is fine with minimal injury."

The Packards also wrote, "Elder and Sister Nelson were not specifically targeted or that this was any act against the Church. Some have speculated that our guards were involved. They were not.". They also wrote that their 9-year-old daughter, Lindy, their housekeeper and her baby boy are safe; the two children hid in a closet.

Finally, the Packards confirmed what has been said earlier, that "Home invasions and armed confrontations are not common. We have had one missionary apartment burglarized in recent weeks but have had no other incidents ... in over a year and a half." This assessment was somewhat corroborated by Kent Larsen on Times and Seasons.

After the incident, Elder Nelson met with the missionaries. He and his wife have since departed Mozambique and returned to Salt Lake, having concluded their assignment on the other side of the world.

This account mostly confirms what was previously reported. It's no surprise Mozambique isn't as subject to home invasions as South Africa; its population density is only 65 people per square mile. In contrast, South Africa's population density is 101 people per square mile, and it has a much more diverse and volatile mix. So, as confirmed by two sources, LDS men need not fear being called to a mission in Mozambique.

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