Missionary blamed for fatal library fire
Investigators Saturday implicitly blamed a missionary for a fire at a cultural institution in Tunis which killed him and destroyed nearly 17 000 books.
A judicial official said in a statement to AFP that traces of petrol had been found at the scene of Tuesday’s blaze in the library of the Institute of Arab Literature and on the body of the missionary.
The official quoted witnesses as saying that Italian monk Gian Battista Maffi, 55, had been seen entering the library carrying a container of yellow liquid.
“Analysis showed that the container contained petrol, traces of which were found on the clothing of the deceased,” the official said, adding that witnesses also said that Maffi had shown signs of depression.
Founded in 1926 by the missionary group the White Fathers, the institute contained some 32,000 books and manuscripts dating back to the 19th century, as well as other specialist publications. – Sapa-AFP