A Roman Catholic priest who was abducted in Burundi in April has died, following an ordeal from which he never recovered.
Adolphe Ntahondereye was the vicar of St. Francesco Saverio parish in Gatumba, near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo. He was ambushed while traveling by bus on April 9, along with three other people, according to Vatican Radio and Burundi media reports.
The hostages were all passengers from different locations who were forced from the bus and made to walk barefoot for hours into DR Congo territory, a survivor told IWACU in Burundi. Three of them, Ntahondereye included, were elders who had difficulty with the journey. The priest himself required assistance in walking long distances through mountainous terrain, and was ill at the outset of the incident.
The hostages were released in late April after 17 days with the armed group, who identified themselves as rebels. Yet Ntahondereye, who was immediately hospitalized, never recovered and died May 11 in Bujumbura. Local church sources said he also was suffering from malaria.
A surviving witness said their abductors accused the priest of working with the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of Burundi’s ruling CNDD-FDD party under President Pierre Nkurunziza.
The death of Ntahondereye was announced by Monsignor Evariste Ngoyagoye, the Archbishop of Bujumbura, late last week.