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Missionary shot by bandits in jungle may soon be home

By Steven Alexander

A missionary from Northern Ireland who was shot in the African jungle has been discharged from hospital and could be home soon, her charity has said.

Earlier this month, Cookstown midwife Maud Kells was shot and wounded in rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where she has been based since 1968.

Just days earlier, the 75-year-old Bible teacher, who works for the WEC International charity, had been named as OBE recipient in the New Year Honours List.

The plunky pensioner had been based in the tiny remote village of Mulita which was targeted by raiders who shot her in the ribs.

"Maud is recovering well, but is still in much pain," Philip Crooks, who also works for WEC, told the Mid-Ulster Mail.

"The wounds are being dressed twice daily [and] she is sitting up for a while, but in bed still much of the time. Maud will move from her current location this week, accompanied by a doctor friend and his wife.

"She will remain under their care until she is fit to travel back to Europe," he added.

"[But] it is thought that it will be some weeks yet, before Maud is well enough to make her way home."

Two doctors - Matthias Holmer and his wife nurse Sabine Holmer - have been treating Ms Kells at Nyankunde hospital. Both are long-standing friends of the Molesworth Presbyterian Church in Cookstown, where Ms Kells worships when at home.

A Mission Aviation Fellowship pilot in eastern DRC, Jon Cadd, was one of the first outsiders to the scene, and flew Ms Kells to the safety of a hospital.

"Maud is a wonderful, caring woman who has given her entire adult life to the people here in eastern DRC," he told a Christian magazine. "She lives way out in the far reaches of the forest with very little supporting connection to the outside. Congo is a harsh place and she has given over 40 years of sacrificial living for the sake of its people."

Eastern DRC has been mired in bloody guerrilla-style combat since 1994, when Rwanda's genocide spilled over the border.

Yesterday, it emerged that soldiers from the Scots Borders and the Second Battalion the Rifles in Northern Ireland are to travel to Malawi soon to train troops for a major peacekeeping operation there.

The Malawi Defence Forces are expected to take control of a large swathe of the DRC where the UN has sanctioned offensive operations to dislodge Rwandan rebel forces operating in the east.

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