LDS Church: Missionaries leaving Guyana at gov't request

LDS Church: Missionaries leaving Guyana at gov't request


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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) -- Some 40 Mormon missionaries who were asked to leave Guyana because of outdated documents are complying with government orders, the church said Wednesday.

Most of the missionaries are U.S. citizens accused of letting their work permits expire.

Attorney Leslie Sobers, a local spokesman for the church, declined to say how many already have left.

President Bharrat Jagdeo has said he disagrees with the way the group was rounded up and detained briefly on Sept. 2. Some government officials said privately that the ruling party felt the missionaries were too close to opposition figures and was wary of their independent charity work.

Immigration authorities originally planned to expel the group immediately, but U.S. Embassy officials won a 30-day extension after meeting with Jagdeo.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been sending missionaries to the South American country for more than 20 years and church officials say they hope to replace the departing missionaries.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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