At least one combatant of the Mai-Mai rebel movement was killed on Sunday, April 17, when the DR Congo army, FARDC, responded to a distress call after members of the rebel movement disrupted an Easter Mass at a Catholic Church in Bunyuka, situated in the Bashu chiefdom in the east Butembo in North Kivu.
According to Rev. Father Hilaire Kamavu of the Queen of Angels parish Bunyuka, the Mai-Mai rebels invaded the church after the first Easter mass which happened between 6 and 9 a.m. CAT.
“One group of the militia went to the altar to collect the ornaments of the priest who celebrated the mass and had already left,” a church member who witnessed the incident narrated.
“They pretended that they also wanted to preach the word of God to the Christians still present in the church. Finding that they were not being listened to, they carried the liturgy book and left.”
The army that was alerted as the rebels ransacked the parish arrived and killed one of the Mai-Mai combatants inside the church compound.
After the incident, all other masses programmed for Easter Sunday were suspended and the Butembo-Beni Catholic diocese authorities were yet to make any statement about the incident at the time this report was being filed.
The police mayor of Butembo had warned the parish authorities on the eve of the Easter church service of the need to take the necessary security measures at the entrance into the church to avoid dangerous intruders.
This incident happened five years after the abduction of two priests from the Bunyuka parish. The priests, Father Charles Kipasa and Jean-Pierre Akilimali were kidnapped in the evening of July 16, 2017 and five years afterwards, they are yet to be found.
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