DRC: Catholic Bishops Appeal for Release of Kidnapped Priests

KINSHASA JULY 21, 2017 (CISA) – The National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) has appealed for the release of two kidnapped Catholic priests and urged security forces dismantle the criminal network that destabilizes peace in the region of Beni.

“Priests are men of God who devote their lives to the good of the population without a political agenda. To hurt them is to harm the community they serve,” said the bishops in a statement on July 17.

The two priests Fr Charles Kipasa and Fr Jean-Pierre Akilimali, were abducted from Our Lady of the Angels parish in Bunyuka, located between the towns of Butembo and Beni in the province of North-Kivu in eastern DRC, by gunmen just before 10 pm on July 16, reported Vatican Radio.

CENCO asked the security forces to do everything possible to free the two priests from the hands of kidnappers and reminded authorities of their duty to ensure the security of people and their goods.

The two priests were reportedly kidnapped by about ten armed and camouflaged men who attacked the parish. The assailants hit some seminarians who were serving in the parish and stole two cars and two motorcycles. The two off-road vehicles were later found near Virunga National Park.

The statement signed by  Archbishop Marcel Utembi of Kisangani and President of CENCO further noted that there has been no news on the fate of three Assumptionist fathers, Jean-Pierre Ndulani, Anselme Wasikundi and Edmond Bamutute, abducted in their parish of Notre-Dame des Pauvres in Mbau, 22 km from Beni in October 2012.

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