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Shot missionary Maud breaks bones in fall but injuries will not stop her work in Africa

By Cate McCurry

Published 20/04/2016

Recovering: Maud Kells
Recovering: Maud Kells

A Northern Ireland missionary shot by bandits in Africa is recovering from another injury.

Maud Kells suffered a number of broken of bones after falling near her home in Co Tyrone.

The 76-year-old, who was crowned Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year for 2015, had been walking to her health centre in Cookstown when she stumbled and landed on her hand, breaking three small bones.

In January last year the missionary nurse and Bible teacher was shot by bandits who broke into her home in the remote rainforest village of Mulita in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She was lucky to survive after a bullet smashed a rib as it passed clean through her.

Maud lost a considerable amount of blood and was airlifted to a nearby hospital.

Earlier this year she returned to the war-torn country where she paid a "substantial" amount of money to clear the names of three men wrongly accused of the attack.

While she did not reveal how much cash she handed over, she said it was "worth every penny" to ensure the freedom of the trio, one of whom she said saved her life in the aftermath of the shooting.

Ms Kells also said she was determined to return to DR Congo to continue her work as a midwife and teacher.

She plans to travel back in October for one final trip in the hope of completing her construction work on a nursery school - and has vowed that her latest injuries won't stop her.

"I'm hoping to go back near the end of the year and also hoping that the bones would have healed by then too," she said.

"The plans are quite vague at this stage, there's nothing decided on as I need to find out how long I can get a visa for.

"But I'll probably finish off the nursery and other projects that I started and didn't complete.

"I had been teaching in a Bible school and want to hand over that, and I had been working in the hospital and the maternity unit, so I'm handing over that and various other aspects of that.

"I'm taking things one step at a time.

"It was about two weeks ago when I fell and broke some bones in my hand.

"There's three little bones broken but nothing serious, and it shouldn't hinder my going back in October, and by that time I should be completely healed.

"It was very silly. I was going to the health centre to see about a bit of ringworm in my arm that I came home from Africa with a couple of week ago. I just missed my footing and fell on my hand and broke these bones. It was only an accident.

"I had a very swollen hand, but that's gone now."

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