, 26 March, 2020 / 12:23 AM
A man suspected of physically assaulting, raping and murdering a Gabonese nun whose body was found on Friday, March 20 has confessed his crime, amid a public call for justice for the nun who dedicated her life to the service of the poor in the West African country.
The lifeless body of Sr. Lydie Oyane Nzoughe, a member of the Holy Mary Congregation in Gabon and founder of St. John Fraternity, which takes care of elderly people abandoned by their families, was found in the premises of her facility after a suspected theft.
Before she was killed, Sr. Lydie was allegedly raped and assaulted.
The assassin made away with her vehicle and her other personal belongings including her mobile phones and the keys to her room.
The Episcopal Conference of Gabon has reported, “Taken by remorse, he (assassin) went himself, on Saturday 21 March 2020 in the late afternoon, to report himself to the parish priest of the Magi parish of Akébé Ville.”
From the testimonies of the faithful of the parish, “the assassin went, after his crime, to his girlfriend's family in the Payrie district. There he reportedly handed over a sum of 130,000 CFA francs (US$213.00) and a mobile phone,” eglisecatholique-gabon.org recounted.
On seeing the nun's photo on the screen, the girlfriend reportedly questioned the suspect who confessed his crime to her. The girlfriend and her brother are said to have advised the assassin to confide in a Priest or a lawyer.
“The girl and her brother went with the murderer to the neighboring parish of the Magi. At the parish, the conversation took place between the parish priest, a parish catechist, the murderer and the young man who accompanied him,” eglisecatholique-gabon.org has reported.
The alleged assassin is well known in the Valley of St. Mary, where he survived on little tips entrusted to him by the Sr. Lydie.
The late nun’s vehicle has been recovered, while investigations are ongoing to determine the circumstances of the crime.
Sr. Lydie had dedicated her life to serving the elderly, abandoned by their families, through the St John Fraternity and the Gabonese Youth Eucharistic Movement (MEJ).
The fraternity directed by the Catholic nun is located in the Vallée Sainte Marie de Libreville, below Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral.
Archbishop Basile Mvé Engone of Libreville has invited the faithful to “pray for the soul of our sister Lydie, while waiting for the judicial police (PJ) to give us the results of their investigations.”
Eulogies have been pouring in on social media praising the selfless sacrifice of a nun who dedicated her entire life in serving others.
In a Facebook post, Gabonese First Lady Sylvia Ondimba expressed sorrow with the passing on of Sr. Lydie saying, “I am deeply saddened by the cruel mourning that has just struck the body of Christ in Gabon.”
She added, “Sister Lydie, whose whole life was consecrated to the service of others, has gone away, victim of a barbaric act that took her life. Nothing, really nothing can justify this act.”
“I offer my sincere condolences to her family and to the religious community and to all those who, at some point in their lives, found refuge and comfort with her at the Saint John Fraternity Reception Centre,” the Gabonese First Lady said.
“I know Sister Lydia Lydie well. I'm devastated by her death. She was a confidante, a friend... God rest her soul,” laments Serge Makaya in a Facebook post.
“May your soul rest in peace sister, may the Good Lord welcome you into his home.... It's so very unfair and so atrocious the way you left this world,” comments Vanmiled Moudiangou Wonga.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa