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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 11:56 GMT
S African pastor in paintball row
Rev Peter Hammond is a well known right-wing evangelist in South Africa
A South African missionary and pro-gun lobbyist has been charged with assault over a Halloween paintball incident.

The charges stem from 31 October when Rev Peter Hammond took his children out for a "counter Halloween" outing in the suburbs of Cape Town.

Several other children in the area say they were hit with paintballs.

Rev Hammond, who believes Halloween is an "occult" festival, turned himself in to the police after hearing that parents had made complaints.

Rev Hammond told the South African Press Association that what happened was "not intentional and not malicious".

'Joke'

He said he and his family did not approve of Halloween, which they saw as an "occult holiday celebrating human sacrifice, witches and goblins".

The idea had been to target trick-or-treating teenagers.

"It was meant to be a joke: nobody was meant to get hurt," Rev Hammond said. "I laid down a few ground rules: we were just going for teenagers, no kids."

Rev Hammond, who leads the Frontline Fellowship, is well known for his work in rebel-held areas of Sudan, Angola and Mozambique and for his opposition to South African gun-control measures.

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