ROME (AP) _ Rebels shot and killed an outspoken 71-year-old Italian priest as he drove to Sunday Mass in northern Uganda, an Italian-based missionary news agency reported.

Fighters of the Lord's Resistance Army ambushed the Rev. Raffaele Di Bari's car, killing him instantly, MISNA said.

A nun and a catechist traveling with the priest escaped without injury before the car exploded in flames, MISNA said.

Di Bari had been outspoken in denouncing northern Uganda's 13-year-old Lord's Resistance Army.

Led by a man claiming to be a spirit medium with supernatural powers, the rebels are noted for enslaving children for fighting, chores and sex.

Di Bari called MISNA on Thursday to say he had escaped one attack.

His Comboniano missionary order ``gave voice to these people, denouncing the atrocities that the rebels commit almost daily against women, old people and children,'' the Rev. Giulio Albanese, MISNA's director, quoted Di Bari as having said then.

Sunday's attack occurred as Di Bari traveled from his mission at Pajule to celebrate Mass and baptize faithful at a village 12 miles south of the city of Kitgum, MISNA said.

Rebels killed another missionary at the same site 10 years earlier, the news agency said.

Di Bari, a native of Bari, started work in Uganda in 1959.