updated 3/19/2004 8:37:41 PM ET 2004-03-20T01:37:41

Unidentified gunmen raided and looted a college and killed two American missionaries and a Ugandan student, police said Friday.

Warren Pett and his wife, Donna, were shot late Thursday after seven armed men wearing military uniforms raided the college near Yumbe in northwestern Uganda, where the couple taught, said Okot Araa, district police chief.

The U.S. Embassy said the missionaries were both 49 and from Mukwonago, Wis. Family members said the Petts were dairy farmers who decided to go overseas to spread their faith and help people.

“They were totally and entirely dedicated to their Lord,” said their son Saul in Mukwonago. “This is where he put them. We know they’re home. That’s the most consolation we have right now.”

The son said his parents used to leave notes all over the house — on the dresser, in the sink — saying they loved each other. “They were soul mates,” he said.

The Petts were teaching at the Esther Evangelistical School of Technology, 15 miles east of Yumbe, and worked for a local aid group called Here is Life.

A Ugandan student also was killed in the raid, Araa said.

Investigation under way
“We are on the ground investigating the case, and no arrests have been made at the moment,” Araa said by telephone. “I can’t tell you the motive of the attackers since this area has been very peaceful with no incidents of rebel activities.”

The attackers looted the college and destroyed huts where college staff lived, he added.

William Stough, an official with the African Inland Mission, an international interdenominational Christian missionary group, said the couple had been in Uganda for more than a year and were agricultural experts at the college, which is run by Here is Life, a Ugandan Christian group.

“They had a deep concern for the people and peoples’ lives,” Stough said.

A 17-year insurgency has wreaked havoc across northern and northeastern Uganda, but the area around Yumbe, 300 miles northwest of the capital, Kampala, has been not been affected by the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army and has been relatively peaceful.

On Feb. 21, the Lord’s Resistance Army slaughtered more than 200 civilians living in a refugee camp in the northern district of Lira in one of the worst attacks in recent years.

Other parts of the country have been relatively stable since President Yoweri Museveni seized power in 1986 after leading a five-year bush war.

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