Fears were growing today for the safety of a kidnapped priest after it emerged he had not been released by rebel forces – despite a $20,000 ransom being paid.
Father Jean-Pierre Ndulani was kidnapped at gunpoint by terrorists in October after leaving Scotland to return home to war-torn Congo.
But three months on, a report released by the Congo Embassy in London has revealed that Father Jean-Pierre and two other priests have not been released despite exchanging payment with the rebels.
Those at the Wellburn home for the elderly in Dundee, Scotland, where Father Jean-Pierre worked as a chaplain before heading out to the Congo, are prepared for bad news, but still pray around the clock for his safe release.
Yesterday Mother Aimee, superior of the Little Sisters of the Poor, said: “We are all praying for Father Jean-Pierre every day.
“We’re always on the lookout for any news we might have, but we’ve heard nothing so far.
“He left us a number before he left, but of course we’ve not been able to get through to him.
“We are dependent on his congregation to tell us any news because I’m sure if there was anything significant they would let us know.
“Right away at the beginning there been suggestions that a ransom had been paid, but we never heard anything further.
“After three months of no word on the outcome of the ransom, we’re prepared for bad news.”
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.
Just weeks later Father Jean-Pierre was one of three Catholic priests from the Order of the Augustinians of the Assumption that were abducted by armed men.
The attack happened on October 19 fat the Notre-Dame des Pauvres Parish Church house in Mbau, which sits in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is believed that the abduction was carried out by an Ugandan rebel group.
According to the new report by the Congo Embassy in London, telephone contact was made with the abductors, who would not disclose their exact location.
After further negotiations the terrorists demanded silver (money) for the priests to be liberated, amounting to sums between $15,000 to $20,000, but the deal was not honoured.
The report said: “They give the date, set the hour and the place with strategies for the recovery of the priests but they do not respect their statements.”
The report also provides numerous accounts of the lawlessness in the area and estimates that nearly 70 armed groups are attacking innocent people in villages.
It is thought that Father Jean-Pierre and his colleagues were kidnapped because their abductors believe the Catholic Church is powerful and want to win some influence.
The Catholic church has appealed for more information, but the report states that people fear of being killed if they come forward.
The Foreign Office said they are aware of the incident, but have no direct involvement as Father Jean-Pierre is not a UK national.