Saturday the 10th of April

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Two priests kidnapped in Congo’s troubled North Kivu province

Armed men kidnapped two Catholic priests in the troubled North Kivu province.

Congo’s bishops have asked security agencies to try to rescue the priests, who served at Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in Bunyuka.

Sgt. Philip Longwa, a police officer in Beni, said gunmen attacked the parish compound about 10pm on 16th July.

Longwa told Catholic News Service the kidnapped priests were Frs Jean-Pierre Akilimali and Charles Kipasa. He said the gunmen also attacked a nearby convent and looted property.

John Muke, a parishioner who lives near the church, told CNS he heard the attack.

“I heard them shouting and abusing the priests. They asked for money and other valuables. They shot a few bullets in air to scare people from going to help the priests,” said Muke.

The attackers also stole two Toyota sport utility vehicles and two motorcycles. The vehicles were abandoned in the village of Kavasewe, not far from Virunga National Park.

Picture: A Congolese refugee girl is helped off a truck near the border town of Gisenyi, Rwanda, in this 2012 file photo. Armed men kidnapped two Catholic priests in the troubled North Kivu province on 16th July. (CNS photo/Dai Kurokawa, EPA).