A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said Mass in Democratic Republic of Congo, the latest in a series of incidents in North Kivu province.
“Fr Etienne Sengiyumva was killed on 8 April by the Mai Mai Nyatura [militia] in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a Mass including a baptism and a wedding,” Fr Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese told Agence France-Presse.
The murder occurred three days after Father Celestin Ngango of St Paul Karambi Parish, abducted just before Easter, was found unharmed by villagers.
Local authorities said that Father Ngango's release was secured by pressure from the local villagers.
Initially, the kidnappers asked for “the absurd sum of $500,000”, Bishop Theophile Kaboy Ruboneka of Goma told Fides last week.
Father Ngango was the sixth priest abducted in the eastern DRC since 2012 and one of the few abductees in the region to be released.
North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of as armed groups take advantage of the country’s political crisis, triggered by President Kabila’s refusal to step down after his term ended in December 2016.
After repeated protests at the president’s refusal to relinquish power, in which dozens of people were killed, the government and opposition agreed, in a deal mediated by the Catholic Church, that the election would be held by the end of 2017.
In November the electoral commission said it could not meet that time frame.
In early January, demonstrations organised by Catholic groups and political opposition parties in the capital Kinshasa and elsewhere demanded the delayed election be held this year.
The poll is currently scheduled for December 23 of this year.
PICTURE: Displaced people sit outside their makeshift shelters April 9 at a camp in Bunia, DRC. (CNS/Goran Tomasevic, Reuters)