FRIDAY
January 12, 2001
volume 12, no. 12
Congo Bishop Released From Prison


    KINSHASA, Democratic Congo, Jan. 11, 01 (CWNews.com/Fides) - Auxiliary Bishop Cyprien Mbuka of Boma, Democratic Congo, was released from prison on Wednesday after spending 12 days in the Demiap detention center.

    The news of his release was given by the office of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Democratic Congo. Bishop Mbuka was arrested on December 28 in the coastal town of Matadi, Lower Congo province and taken to Kinshasa prison. He was charged with possessing a mobile phone without a permit and of plotting to overthrow the Kinshasa government.

    Cardinal Frederic Etsou of Kinshasa, president of the bishops' conference, visited Bishop Mbuka in prison and called for his release, denouncing other arbitrary arrests and harassment of church personnel, including bishops. Bishop Joachim Mbadu of Boma went to Kinshasa on January 3 to personally follow the case of his auxiliary. The ample space the national press gave to the arrest of the Catholic prelate put the government in a delicate situation.

    Bishop Mbuka is the fourth Catholic bishop arrested in the last two years. The others were Bishop Theophile Kaboy of Kasongo and two missionary priests arrested and taken to Kinshasa; Bishop Joseph Kesenge, emeritus of Molegbe, and Father Fridolin Ambongo, Capuchin Provincial; Bishop Nestor Ngoy Katahwa, at the time of his arrest Bishop of Manono and at present Bishop of Kolwezi. The bishops were accused of "working with the rebels," "covering up arms trafficking," and "helping rebels to enter the country." Thanks to interventions by Cardinal Etsou and the then-Nuncio, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz, the men were all released.

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January 12, 2001
volume 12, no. 12
Global News from the Universal Church



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