Congo: Catholic missionary survives gun attack

 A Catholic missionary is recovering after a gun attack in the volatile North Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Polish-born Father Kontor Wieslaw, a Pallottine missionary, was wounded in an ambush last Friday, Fides news agency reports.

Fr Wieslaw was returning by car to Rutshuru from a meeting in Ntamugenga when three armed men tried to stop him on the road. The missionary accelerated, but the attackers fired, hitting one of the car's tires. Fr Wieslaw was forced to stop, while the attackers continued to fire. He was hit by three bullets, two in the legs and another in his torso.

The attack occurred not far from the centre of town and Fr Wieslaw was immediately rushed to hospital in Rutshuru and underwent an operation on Monday. The doctors said he was out of danger.

The missionary's assailants remain unknown. "Fr Wieslaw has been carrying out his mission for over 20 years in the area, where he is parish priest of the Church of Saint Aloys in Rutshuru. He is very esteemed by everyone for his work in evangelization, pastoral care, and human promotion, sources told Fides.

Fr Wieslaw was visited in hospital by Bishop Faustin Ngabu of Goma, as well as by local civil and military authorities. Rutshuru is a town at 75 kilometres north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu. The province has been suffering a civil war for months, which is led by the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), which recently signed a peace accord with the central government.

Between January and February, North Kivu was the centre of a joint military operation by the Congolese and Rwandan armies against the Rwandan Hutus who took refuge in eastern Congo after the genocide 15 years ago.

Last month, a delegation of seven Congolese bishops went to North Kivu to express solidarity with the local people. On March 19, a week before his injury, Fr Wieslaw welcomed the bishops in his parish, where they celebrated Mass.

Source: CISA

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