By Sr. Carmel Ann
Fr Robert Masinda, the Congolese priest kidnapped on January 22nd along with five technicians was freed on the evening of 24 January. The news of his release was confirmed by Father Eliseo Tacchella, a Comboni missionary in Butembo, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who said that he was informed of their release by kidnappers by the local radio station (Radio Moto).
They were abducted from the "Nino Baglieri" training project of which Fr. Masinda was the director. The project was started in 2012 in the parish of Bingo in collaboration with the Italian diocese of Noto and the Italian Episcopal Conference to train 100 families in farming and breeding techniques.
He was the sixth priest to be kidnapped in the diocese of Butembo-Beni since 2012. Three were kidnapped in October 2012 and two in July 2017. Fr. Masinda was the Parish Priest of the Church of the Santissimo Crocifisso in Rosolini in the Sicilian diocese of Noto..
Fr. Robert Masinda belonged to the diocese of Butembo-Beni, in North Kivu in eastern DRC.
The ongoing political protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo reportedly have nothing to do with the kidnapping of the priest and the technicians of the Nino Baglieri project.