Democratic Republic of the Congo: a sister is kidnapped

AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED (ACN) has learned that a sister of Congregation of the Daughters of the Resurrection has been kidnapped in Goma, in the region of Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According to ACN’s local partners, Sister Francine was kidnapped July 8. The nun had gone to the local market to shop for the community and did not return. Subsequently, kidnappers have contacted the local Church and demanded a ransom. It is not clear if they are bandits or part of a group connected to rebels fighting in Kivu.

The Congregation of the Daughters of the Resurrection, founded in DRC, has appealed to ACN donors for their prayers and support.

For years, the eastern provinces of the DRC have been besieged by militia groups. Important factors in this development are ethnic conflicts, demographic displacement, and the struggle to access to raw materials. Over the last few years, the situation has been exacerbated by a strong radical Islamist element.

Daughters of the Resurrection

Last year, the bishops of the Ecclesiastical province of Bukavu, which is comprised of six dioceses, expressed their alarm at the prevailing conditions, but also warned against making interpretations that are too simple. “We [are] of the opinion that the fighting within the communities on a national level is possibly being used as a pretext to hide a conspiracy between internal and external players to obscure the ruthless exploitation of natural resources (mining, oil, woodland, land).”

Speaking to ACN a few weeks ago, Bishop Paluku Sekuli Melchisédech of Butembo-Beni, denounced the grave human rights violations being carried out by marauding militia groups and criminals. “Armed groups are destroying schools and hospitals. Teachers and pupils are being killed. They are even killing the sick as they lie in their hospital beds. Not a day goes by without people being killed,” the bishop said.

ACN supports several projects in eastern DRC, providing funding for the building of rectories and churches as well as priestly formation programs. The Daughters of the Resurrection, an order of African Sisters, has been hard-hit by violence in the past decade; some convents were forced to close, and several sisters were killed. Today, the Daughters of the Resurrection are also working for evangelization in Brazil, Cameroon, France, and Italy.

—Maria Lozano