AFRICA/MALI - "We are sure of the release of the 4 lay people, but Fr. Léon is still missing", says the parish priest of Mopti

Friday, 25 June 2021 priests   kidnappings  

Bamako (Agenzia Fides) - "The 4 parishioners have returned to Ségué, but we have not yet seen Fr. Léon Dougnon", says to Fides Fr. Amoudou Kizito Togo, parish priest of Mopti, specifying the circumstances of the release of the five members of the delegation of the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes de Ségué, kidnapped on June 21 along with some faithful on the road that leads from Ségué to San, in the region of Mopti, in central Mali (see Fides, 23/6/2021). The hostages were released on June 23, by the unidentified armed group who abandoned them on a road in the Bandiagara region (see Fides, 24/6/2021). "We are sure of the release of the 4 lay people, but Fr. Léon is still missing", said Fr. Kizito. "I am 120 km from Ségué, but I know that the 4 released were accompanied by another priest to their village of origin after the kidnappers released them. From what I was told they should be fine: as soon as they arrived they went to church to give thanks to the Lord", says Fr. Kizito. The parish priest of Mopti reports that Fr. Léon Dougnon may not be in the hands of the kidnappers, but he could find himself unable to move due to a mechanical failure of his car, which was probably not stolen by the bandits. "It seems that Fr. Léon stayed on the spot where his companions were released while waiting for a mechanic. The car in which they were traveling had broken down and the priest remained waiting for a rescue vehicle. This is what I was told, but the story seems a bit strange", he concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 25/6/2021)