Burundi: fears for safety of kidnapped bishop

 There are fears for the safety of the Bishop of Ruyigi, Joseph Nduhirubusa who went missing on Saturday as he crossed the Kibira forest in Burundi. Two of his body guards were shot dead. Six years ago, Archbishop Joahhin Ruhuna was killed by FDD gunmen after a similar kidnapping. Bishop Michael Aidan Courtney, Papal Nuncio of Bujumbura (Burundi) told the missionary news service: "The Bishop of Ruyigi, Joseph Nduhirubusa, is fine and could soon be released". He said the rebels had been contacted yesterday morning and negotiations were underway for the safe return of the bishop. The FDD (Forces for the Defence of Democracy), released a statement in which they said the bishop had been abducted for his own safety. Western diplomatic sources in Nairobi said the bishop had been stopped in his personal car while he was returning to Ruyigi, but had not been the target of the rebel ambush. They thought the identity of the bishop had only been discovered after the abduction. Bishop Courtney said that he was satisfied with the declarations of the FDD and their pledge to guarantee his safety. Besides the Bishop, the driver of the vehicle is also in the hands of the FDD. Fighting between the ethnic Tutsis and Hutus, over the past ten years has turned vast areas of Burundi, including parts of the capital, Bujumbura, into no-go zones. Meanwhile, in Liberia, a British Catholic priest has also gone missing missing during fighting last week. Fr Garry Jenkins disappeared a week ago along with 60 blind people he was caring for at his church compound in Bomi, 60 km north of Monrovia, Catholic radio reported on Sunday.

Share this story