Fears were growing today for the safety of a popular priest who was kidnapped at gunpoint by rebel forces after returning home to war-torn Congo.
Father Jean-Pierre Ndulani had been chaplain at Wellburn Home for the Elderly, in Dundee, Scotland, for six years until he announced his plans to return to western Africa last month.
But he was abducted by armed men, alongside two other Catholic priests, from the Notre-Dame des Pauvres Parish Church house in Mabau, which sits in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mother Marie-Aimee, a Little Sister of the Poor and the Superior of Wellburn Convent, Dundee, said she was appalled at news of the attack.
She said: “We are all in shock and struggling to take in this horrendous event.
“Father Jean-Pierre is a wonderful priest and loved by the whole community.
“He is such a kind, caring and holy man. He was kindness itself to all our elderly residents and treated them with such respect.
“We are praying night and day that he and his colleagues will be returned safely to their community.”
Father Jean-Pierre was at home with four colleagues in the parish house in Mbau when he, Edmond Kisughu and Anselme Wasukundi, were kidnapped on Friday (19/10) night.
Another associate was locked in his room by the rebels.
It is believed that the abduction was carried out by one of the Ugandan rebel groups well known for venturing into other areas adjacent to Congo.
But in recent months kidnappings have increased significantly in Congo which has made locals fear for their lives.
Father Jean-Pierre’s last public mass in Dundee was on September 22 at St Clement’s where he announced he was leaving Dundee the next day to Congo.
He had joined Bishop Vincent Logan and other priests from across the Diocese of Dunkeld to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the parish.
Speaking yesterday (Wed), Bishop Vincent Logan said: “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.
“He is loved and respected by priests and people alike. I am praying that he and his colleagues will be found soon, unharmed.
“My prayers too, are for the members of his order and for Jean-Pierre’s family and the families of his companions. We can only imagine their anguish.
“All of us in Dunkeld are united with them as hope and pray for Father Jean-Pierre’s safe return.”