The international pontifical foundation ACN reports the kidnapping of a religious sister of the congregation of the Daughters of the Resurrection in Goma, in the region of Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to local ACN partners, Sister Francine was kidnapped on Thursday 8 July, in Goma. The nun had gone to the local market to shop for the community and she did not return. Subsequently, kidnappers have contacted the local Church and demanded a ransom. It is not clear if they are bandits or a group attached to rebels fighting in the area of Kivu.
The congregation of the Daughters of the Resurrection appeals to the benefactors of ACN for their prayers and support.
For years, the eastern provinces of the Congo have been besieged by militia groups. Important factors in this development are ethnic conflicts, demographic displacement and access to raw materials. Over the last few years, the situation has been exacerbated by a powerful radical Islamist element.
Last year, the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical province of Bukavu, which is comprised of six dioceses in these regions, 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 International few weeks ago, Bishop Paluku Sekuli Melchisédech, Catholic bishop of Butembo-Beni, also in the region of Kivu in East Congo, denounced serious 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 “, said Bishop Paluku Sekuli.
ACN supports a number of 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; a number of convents were forced to close, and several Sisters were killed. Today, the Daughters of the Resurrection are in Brazil, Cameroon, France and Italy for a mission of evangelization.
Featured Image: Photographer/Author: Ismael Martínez Sánchez. Copyright: Author/Aid to the Church in Need.