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Italian Priest Killed in Land Dispute

July 27, 1985

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) _ A hired gunman killed an Italian priest attempting to settle a land dispute in the western Amazon jungle, a church official said.

The Rev. Mario Aldighieri of the church-sponsored Pastoral Land Commission said Friday that the priest, 32-year-old Ezechiele Ramim, ″was hit by about 50 shots.″

Aldighieri said Ramim, accompanied by a rural union leader, traveled to a farm near the Amazon town of Ji-Parana, about 1,364 miles west of Brasilia to urge a group of squatters to leave their encampment on a farm.

″He wanted them to get off the land before there was trouble,″ Aldighieri said. ″But the hired gunman shot the priest.″

He did not say who hired the gunman. The western Amazon is among many areas of Brazil plagued by land disputes, which frequently end in shootouts.