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Fears over safety of priest kidnapped in Congo

Father Ndulani was captured in the small town of Mbau, in the north east of the country

Father Ndulani was captured in the small town of Mbau, in the north east of the country

  • by FRANK URQUHART
 

FEARS are growing for the safety of a former Dundee-based priest who was kidnapped at gunpoint by armed rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo four months ago.

• Growing concern for priest kidnapped at gunpoint in Democratic Republic of Congo four months ago

• Father Jean-Pierre Ndulani served for six years as chaplain at Wellburn House in Dundee

• Priest was abducted last October in Mbau

Father Jean-Pierre Ndulani left Dundee last September to return to his native Congo after serving for six years as chaplain at the Wellburn House care home in the Lochee area of the city which is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Last October - a month after his return - Father Ndulani and two fellow priests from the Order of the Augustinians of the Assumption were abducted at gunpoint in Mbau, a small parish located in the north east of the African republic.

The three priests had been watching television in the Notre-Dame des Pauvres Parish Church house in Mbau when the gunmen burst into their quarters and seized them.

The embassy of the Congolese Republic in London has now confirmed that the three priests have not been released, despite the payment of a ransom to the kidnap gang.

Mother Aimee, who is the superior at the care home in Dundee, said there was growing concern for Father Ndulani’s safety. She said: “We are all praying for Father Jean-Pierre every day.”

A spokeswoman for the home said: “We don’t really know what has happened to Father Jean-Pierre and his colleagues. We learned last October that he had been kidnapped and that’s all we know since.”

A report issued by the Congolese embassy states that contact had been made with the abductors by telephone.

The statement continues: “After further negotiations the terrorists demanded silver (money) for the priests to be liberated, amounting to sums between $15,000 to $20,000, but the deal was not honoured.

“They give (sic) the date, set the hour and the place with strategies for the recovery of the priests but they do not respect their statements.”

Father Ndulani held his last public mass in Dundee on 22 September at St Clement’s Church when he joined Bishop Vincent Logan, the Emeritus Bishop of the Dunkeld Diocese, and priests from across the diocese of Dunkeld to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the parish.

Bishop Logan said in a statement: “We are all distraught at this news about Father Jean-Pierre and his fellow priests. He is a dedicated priest, a man of God for whom any display of violence would be abhorrent. In the six years he spent in our Diocese he made an enormous contribution and touched the lives of many people.”

“All of us in Dunkeld are united with them as we hope and pray for Father Jean-Pierre’s safe return.”

The two other kidnapped priests, also Congolese nationals, have been named as Father Anselm Wasikundi and Father Edmond Bamutute.

A spokesman at the Foreign Office said officials are aware of the incident, but had no direct involvement as Father Jean-Pierre is not a UK national.

 

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