Butembo Beni (Agenzia Fides) - "Why can't we say where they are, who took them? Who kidnapped them and why? For what reasons? Nobody has the right to touch the dignity of a person who God gave us creating us in his image". This is how the Bishop of Butembo Beni, His Exc. Mgr. Melchisedech Sikuli Paluku expressed himself, during the Mass he celebrated on July 16 to remember the two priests of his diocese kidnapped two years ago, Fr. Charles Kipasa and Fr. Jean-Pierre Akilimali. They were taken from the parish of Notre Dame des Anges in Bunyuka, south of the territory of Beni, in northern Kivu, in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and since then they have never had any news. Expressing his pain, reports the website of the Bishops' Conference of Congo (CENCO), the Bishop asked the faithful to pray so that these two priests and the three assumptionist priests of Mbau are freed from their via crucis.
On the night between Sunday 16 and Monday 17 July 2017, Fr. Jeanne Pierre Akilimali and Fr. Charles Kipasa were kidnapped by strangers at the parish of Notre-Dame des Anges in Bunyuka (see Fides, 18/7/2017). According to CEPADHO, a local NGO for the defense of human rights, the two priests were kidnapped by a dozen armed men who attacked the parish. The criminals also beat some seminarians who served in the parish and stole two cars and two motorcycles used by priests for pastoral ministry.
The kidnapping was immediately condemned by CENCO, which denounced the climate of insecurity in the area and reminded the Congolese authorities of their task of "ensuring the safety of people and their property". CENCO asked the security forces "to do everything to free the two priests from the hands of the kidnappers and to dismantle the criminal network that destabilizes peace in the Beni region".
The Bishops' communiqué also recalled that since October 2012 nothing has been known about the fate of three assumptionist fathers, Jean-Pierre Ndulani, Anselme Wasikundi and Edmond Bamutute, kidnapped in their parish of Notre-Dame des Pauvres in Mbau, 22 km from Beni (see Fides, 22/10/2012). (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides, 19/7/2019)