Rwandan rebels held two Roman Catholic nuns from Spain hostage for a second day Tuesday. Five other nuns, all Rwandans, reportedly were freed.
The Rwandan nuns were released Monday, hours after being taken captive by Hutu rebels who attacked a church-run health center in northwestern Rwanda, the private Rwanda News Agency quoted military sources as saying.
The rebels, fighting the Tutsi-led government, continued to hold two Spanish nuns - a doctor and a nurse - to care for their wounded, Spanish Ambassador Luis Gomez de Aranda Guillen said. The nuns were ordered to accompany the rebels with medical equipment, he said.
“Information we received from radio operators inside Rwanda is that they were seen going to mountains and were in good health,” Guillen said. “I don’t think the kidnappers will ask for anything. We hope they will be released soon.”
The Rwandan army said the rebels attacked a church-run health center in Kivumu, about 60 miles northwest of Kigali, killing three civilians and taking the nuns hostage. Seventeen more civilians were killed in another attack two hours later.
Another Roman Catholic nun, who is Congolese, managed to escape from the group and alerted the army stationed nearby.
The health center is near Gisenyi, which lies on the border with Congo, where Hutu rebels, many of whom were responsible for the 1994 slaughter of 500,000 minority Tutsis, often cross in and out of the country.