AFRICA/DR CONGO - "Fr. Robert Masinda is free", says the Vicar General of Butembo-Beni to Fides

Thursday, 25 January 2018 kidnappings  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "Fr. Robert Masinda is free and on his way to reach the Bishopric", says to Agenzia Fides Mgr. Laurent Sondirya (and not Emmanuel Mwanapenzi Nyonyu as erroneously reported yesterday), Vicar General of the diocese of Butembo-Beni, in North Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"I have not seen him yet but he should be here soon, along with the other person who was detained with him", said Mgr. Sondirya. Apparently a sum of money was paid for his release.
"We do not know who the kidnappers are. Unfortunately, given the situation of poverty of a large part of the population, some people resort to kidnappings to easily obtain some money", says Mgr. Sondirya, who confirms that the people kidnapped on January 22 together with Fr. Robert Masinda are free (see Fides 24/1/2018).
Mgr. Sondirya recalls that two priests, Fr Charles Kipasa and Fr. Jean Pierre Akilimali, who were kidnapped on 16 July 2017 in the parish of Mary Queen of the Angels in Bunyuka, on the outskirts of Butembo, are still in the hands of their kidnappers. "Up until a month ago the kidnappers allowed us to talk to them", he reveals. "Now they tell us they are alive but they do not allow us to talk to them anymore. We hope to be able to bring them home soon", says the Vicar General.
Meanwhile the social and political situation remains tense in the DRC after the violent repression of demonstrations organized in several cities on Sunday, January 21 by the Catholic laity to ask President Josesph Kabila not to run as candidate in accordance with the Constitution and compliance with the New Year's agreements of 31 December 2016.
"Even in our diocese we feel the general discomfort of the population and tension increases", confirms Mgr. Sondirya. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 25/1/2018)