Catholic Nun among Seven Killed Following Attack on Catholic Mission Hospital in DR Congo

Late Sr. Marie-Sylvie Kavuke Vakatsuraki. Credit: Courtesy Photo

A Catholic Nun serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Butembo-Beni Diocese is among seven people who were reportedly killed on Thursday, October 20 morning when gunmen attacked a Catholic Mission hospital in Maboya village.

Members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) raided Maboya village, killing Sr. Dr. Marie-Sylvie Kavuke Vakatsuraki and six others who were patients at the Catholic health facility, reported.

Soldiers of ADF, an ISIS affiliated rebel group from neighboring Uganda reportedly under the leadership of a Muslim who abandoned his Christian faith, are said to have made away with “drugs and medical equipment, and set the hospital on fire.” 

In a statement issued October 20, the Local Ordinary of Butembo-Beni Diocese “strongly condemns” the attack on the mission hospital and extends his condolences to those affected by the attack.

“It is with deep consternation that the Diocese of Butembo-Beni learned the sad news of an armed attack on Maboya village targeting, among others, the Centre de Santé de Référence de Maboya, which is a health facility of our Diocesan Office of Medical Works (BDOM),” Bishop Melchisédec Sikuli Paluku says in his statement obtained by ACI Africa.


Faced with this tragedy in Maboya village, Bishop Paluku says, “Word cannot express the horror that has more than crossed the threshold!”

“This attack, which the Diocese strongly condemns for the umpteenth time, resulted in the loss of human life, in particular that of Sister Doctor Marie-Sylvie Kavuke Vakatsuraki, a member of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Presentation of Our Lady at the Temple in Butembo-Beni,” the Congolese Bishop bemoans. 

He adds, “We also deplore the burning of a large part of the Maboya Health Centre, not to mention the medicines and equipment taken away.”

“The Diocese of Butembo-Beni presents its Christian condolences to the entire population of Maboya, namely the Priests, the Consecrated persons and the lay faithful of the Regina Pacis Parish, and reassures them of its fervent prayers at this time of trial,” Bishop Paluku who has been at the helm of the Congolese Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in August 1998 says.

He extends his condolences “to the Mother General of the Little Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, to her Council and to all the Little Sisters of the Presentation, to the Order of Physicians and to the biological family of Sister Doctor Marie-Sylvie Kavuke Vakatsuraki.”

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“May the soul of our dear Sister Doctor Marie-Sylvie Kavuke Vakatsuraki, who passed away in the service of her brothers and sisters, rest in peace through the mercy of God!” the 70-year-old Local Ordinary of Butembo-Beni Diocese that is located in North Eastern DRC where attacks from ADF have heightened in recent months implores.

In February, a Catholic Priest was “assassinated” by armed men in the Territory of Lubero (North-Kivu), while he was returning to his Parish of St. Michael the Archangel of Butembo-Beni Diocese after the celebration of the World Day of Consecrated Life on February 2.

The lifeless body of the member of the Order of Clerics Regular Minor (Caracciolini or Adorno Fathers - CRM) was found in his car in DRC’s Vusesa area, between Kirumba and Mighobwe, in North-Kivu.

Late Fr. Richard Masivi Kasereka was laid to rest on February 5 at St. Joseph Cemetery in Musienene after a Funeral Mass at the Sanctuary of Saint Francis of Assisi Kaghuntura in Butembo-Beni Diocese.

On October 4, some 20 Christians were killed in Kainama, Nord-Kivu, reported, adding that “there have been daily reports of ADF attacks in Nord-Kivu and Ituri provinces.”


Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.