Novitiate in Congo attacked

Fr. Wilson Hobold, SCJ, provincial superior of the Congolese Province.

Thirty well-armed bandits attacked the SCJs’ Congolese novitiate on August 3.  The novitiate is in Kiragho, about 10 miles from Butembo (North Kivu).

They came at about 9:00 p.m. and asked the guard if there were soldiers.  He told them no.  Soon after, the bandits surrounded the novitiate and began to terrorize both the novices and Fr. Osnildo Klann, SCJ, novice master. They tied up Fr. Osnildo and demanded money. He told them he had only five dollars and some Congolese francs.

The bandits told Fr. Osnildo that they had previously killed priests who refused to give them money and then threatened to kill him. Fr. Osnildo was telling the truth, he literally had no money beyond what he noted. The bandits tore through the house, taking clothes, phones and anything else that they could carry.   Much of what they couldn’t carry they destroyed.

Several members of the community were tortured and injured.

The attack took place one month after another by these same bandits on an SCJ parish near the novitiate.

“Not only the Priests of the Sacred Heart, but the entire city of Butembo lives in total insecurity,” wrote a member of the novitiate community.  Each night such attacks take place throughout the city. “We therefore call the authorities of our countries to take very seriously the upsurge of insecurity in Butembo and in almost all the North-Kivu.”

After we received this information, we received a letter from Fr. Osnildo Klann with more details.  Click here to read it.