Catholic nun abducted on way to the market in DR Congo set free

Daughters of the Resurrection walking in Bukavu, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. / Aid to the Church in Need.

Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jul 17, 2021 / 04:00 am (CNA).

Kidnappers have freed a Catholic nun seized on her way to a market in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a Catholic charity reported on Friday.

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) said on July 16 that the nun, identified only as Sr. Francine, was “traumatized but physically unharmed,” reported ACI Africa, CNA’s African news partner.

ACN said that there were scant details regarding the kidnapping and release of the nun, who belongs to the Daughters of the Resurrection in the Central African country with a population of almost 87 million people.

Sr. Francine was seized on July 8 in Goma, the capital of the eastern North Kivu province, on her way to the market to shop for her community.

ACN said that a short time after the incident, the kidnappers contacted local Church representatives.

North Kivu and the other eastern provinces of the DRC have suffered attacks from rebel militia groups and criminal gangs.

The country’s Catholic bishops appealed in April for an end to the bloodshed.

In an April 8 statement, members of the Standing Committee of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo said: “War is the mother of all miseries, it affects all spheres of society and compromises the future of our children.”

“To those who have taken up arms we say: ‘Stop killing your brothers,’” the bishops said.

Regina Lynch, director of projects at ACN International, said: “We are very pleased that Sr. Francine is back safe and sound with her community.”

“Unfortunately, we are finding that kidnappings, especially of priests and religious, have become a weapon and a means of pressure in numerous African countries.”

She added: “Many priests and religious, such as Gloria Cecilia Narváez in Mali, often go missing for years. Other Church members do not survive the abductions.”

A version of this story was first published by ACI Africa, CNA’s African news partner, written by Agnes Aineah. It has been adapted by CNA.