Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - “We are doing all we can to obtain the release of Rev Célestin” Fides was told by Bishop Théophile Kaboy Ruboneka, of Goma, main city in North Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where on Easter Sunday unidentified persons kidnapped Rev Célestin Ngango, parish priest at Karambi.
“The kidnappers later contacted the parish asking for the absurd sum of 500,000 dollars. Now they are asking for 50,000, but where can we find such a sum? It is impossible” says Bishop Ruboneka. “We are trying to talk with the kidnappers but it is not easy. In the last phone call with the parish they demanded the same sum of 50.000 and said no more. We have no way of contacting them ”.
“Our area suffers from almost daily kidnappings but usually the sums requested are much lower 500 to 2,000 dollars. This is the first time such a large amount of money is demanded ” said the Bishop.
“We have informed all local and national offices, the United Nations forces and especially the local people and Catholics calling them to help obtain the priest’s release, we have sent search parties to the forest. We informed the Catholic Bishops of Congo, and the governor and have asked the people to pray during mass for Fr Célestin” Bishop Ruboneka told Fides.
“I would like to issue an appeal through Fides to Catholics all over the world to pray for us. The kidnapping of rev Célestin is only one of many daily incidents here. These kidnappings are caused by inhuman trafficking” concludes Bishop Ruboneka.
Don Célestin Ngango was kidnapped on Easter Sunday, 1 April, at about 4pm local time on the road between Nyarukwangara and Karambi. Armed men blocked the car in which the priest was travelling about 16 km from the centre of Rutshuru. After taking the priest the kidnappers let the other passengers continue the journey. All over eastern DRC frequent abductions are carried out by some one hundred groups local and foreign. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 4/4/2018)