Church officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) say that the kidnappers of a Catholic priest in the violence-plagued region have demanded $500,000 in ransom.
Father Celestin Ngango was abducted Sunday shortly after celebrating Easter Mass in his parish in the Diocese of Goma in North Kivu province. He was forced to get out of his car and was led into the jungle by armed men, according to a report by Vatican News.
The area has witnessed a recent eruption of violence from militia groups sparring over control of the mineral-rich area, and there have been frequent clashes between the military and security forces. Over 1.4 million people have been forced from their homes.
Last November, armed militants killed 14 international peacekeepers in an attack that the United Nations said was committed by the Islamist terrorist group, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). In March, ten people were killed in an attack by militias in North Kivu.
In January another priest, Father Robert Masinda, was abducted and released. Three priests from the Assumptionist Order were kidnapped in 2012, and two others in July of last year.
According to the Vatican News report, there has been no news of the priests since they were abducted.