AFRICA/DR CONGO - Appeal of the secular clergy of Butembo-Béni: "Release our confreres without condition"

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 armed groups  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "We are deeply appalled by the abduction of our confreres and demand their release without conditions". This is how the secular priests of the diocese of Butembo-Béni addressed the kidnappers of the two priests, Fr. Charles Kipasa and Fr. Jean Pierre Akilimali, abducted on Sunday, July 16 by armed men in in the parish of Mary Queen of the Angels of Bunyuka, on the outskirts of Butembo (see Fides 18/7/2017). The appeal to the kidnappers is written in a letter released at the end of the annual spiritual retreat of the secular clergy of the diocese and its Bishop His Exc. Mgr. Melchisédech Sikuli Paluku.
The priests denounce the insecurity of the area "for night incursions, aggression, murders, robberies and rapes, the resurgence of armed groups that, without counting the number of people killed, provoke the displacement of populations. These acts minimize human life and desecrate both the people, the places and the consecrated riches. This is a sacrilege and a profanation".
The letter reminds us of the blood price paid by the Church for the murderous action of the various armed groups that are perpetuating the diocese. In particular, the murders of Fr. Romain Kahindo Kyavuyirwe (killed in October 2002) and Fr. Christian Mbusa Bakulene (see Fides 10/11/2010), the kidnapping of the Assumptionist fathers, Jean-Pierre Ndulani, Anselme Wasikundi and Edmond Bamutute, kidnapped In their parish in Notre-Dame des Pauvres of Mbau, 22 km from Beni (see Fides 22/10/2012) and the assassination of another Assumptionist, Fr. Vincent Machozi who for years had denounced the illegal exploitation of Coltan (see Fides 22/3/2016).
In the face of this new act of violence against priests, the clergy of Butembo-Béni addresses the kidnappers by saying that "too much is too much" and after having put them "in the face of their responsibility" appeals to their conscience "so that Fr. Charles Kipasa and Fr. Jean-Pierre Akilimali are released alive and can continue their pastoral mission". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 25/7/2017)