3 priests kidnapped in Eastern D.R.Congo

By Drum Digital
22 October 2012

Three Catholic priests in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been abducted by armed men believed to be members of a Ugandan rebel group

, the Kinshasa bishopric and activists said Monday.

The priest of Notre-Dame des Pauvres parish, Anselme Wasukundi, and fathers Jean Ndulani and Edmond Kisughu were snatched at around 9:30 pm (2030 GMT) on Friday.

The Kinshasa bishopric said investigators are trying to identify the attackers and the place where the three priests, who have been at the Beni-Butembo diocese for less than three months, are being held.

The only information about the assailants is that they are about "a dozen armed men dressed in military fatigues," the Civil Society of North Kivu (SCNK) said in a statement.

The assailants "tied them up, one after another, demanding money from them, telling them that they will take their lives," said the NGO, adding that the armed men tried but failed to take a fourth priest.

Teddy Kataliko, president of the SCNK, said that ahunt is ongoing for the armed men, but it is believed that they belong to the ADF-Nalu movement, a coalition of two Ugandan rebel groups -- Alliance of Defence Forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda.

"It's the only movement that is dangerous and which has begun to carry out these kinds of kidnappings," he said.

ADF-Nalu has been active on Congolese territory since 1986. Many of its members were former soldiers of the dictator Idi Amin Dada, and had sought refuge in DR Congo after Yoweri Museveni, who helped depose Amin, took power.

"These kidnappings, it's a situation that has become almost regular," Kataliko said, noting that "most people are not freed and some are found dead."

"Others are taken hostage, maybe for forced labour... They may also be revenge attacks," he said.

About 50 kidnappings have already been carried out including that of a doctor more than a year ago, of whom there has been no news.

-SAPA

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