Friday, June 30, 2006

I do not want to go and commit this sin (Anuarite Nengapeta)

On November 29, 1964, the Simba rebels went to the convent of the Holy Family Sisters and reassured the terrified sisters that they received orders from higher authorities to bring the sisters to a safer place. Quickly, the sisters prepared their baggage and joined the rebels. About four o'clock in the afternoon, the truck carrying the thirty-four sisters started off. While they recited the Rosary, the rebel soldiers sang ambiguous songs.

Arriving at Isiro, the community was led to the residence of Colonel Yuma Deo. That night, all the sisters, except for Sister Marie-Clementine Anuarite Nengapeta, were moved again, this time to a nearby house called “the blue house.” One of the Simba leaders, Colonel Ngalo, with the help of a soldier named Sigbande, tried to convince Anuarite to be his wife. Fearful but defiant, she categorically and repeatedly refused, even after the furious soldiers isolated her and threatened her with death. Mother Léontine attempted to defend her but in vain. Meanwhile, the other nuns in the blue house refused to eat without the presence of their mother superior. Colonel Pierre Olombe brought along sisters Banakweni and Marie-Lucie, to report the situation to Colonel Ngalo who asked for his help in seducing Anuarite. Sure of his success, Olombe accepted. At supper time, Anuarite shared a dish of rice and sardines with Mother Xavéria but could not eat much. She warned her sisters not to drink the beer provided by the Simbas because they were in mortal peril. She declared that she was ready to die defending her virginity. Later that night, Colonel Olombe, with a group of Simbas, sent the nuns to bed, allowing them to sleep in one room as long as Anuarite remained behind. Very troubled and anxious, Anuarite asked the mother superior to pray for her. Olombe again pressured her to yield to Ngalo's request. Then he changed his mind and decided he wanted Anuarite for himself. When she categorically refused, he hurled insults at her but she remained defiant.

Colonel Olombe forced the two sisters into the vehicle, but both of the nuns resisted. Sister Anuarite cried out, “I do not want to go and commit this sin; if you want, you can kill me!” Olombe then started to hit the two nuns savagely with the butt of his rifle. Sister Anwarite said to him, “I forgive you, because you do not know what you are doing.” With one arm broken and her face swollen, Sister Anwarite repeated before losing consciousness, “This is what I wanted.” The Simba who were witnesses of the scene, thinking that Olombe had lost his mind, took his rifle, but he, misunderstanding their action, cried out, “Simba! come quick, they want to kill me.” Two young Simbas came running, bayonnettes in hand. “Stab this sister, thrust the knife into her heart!” Four or five times or even more, they pierced her through, as she lay groaning. Olombe then took his revolver and shot a bullet into Sister Anwarite's chest, which was still breathing. She expired on December 1, 1964, at one o'clock in the morning. After the murder, Olombe calmed down and had Sister Bokuma transported to the hospital. The other religious were transferred under cover to Wamba.

At the end or rebellion, Colonel Olombe was imprisoned and sentenced to five years of imprisonment. After being released, he had nothing and came to the nuns for food,--the same nuns whom he had freed after killing their colleague in Isiro. Sister Léontine gave him what he requested saying, “Sister Marie-Clementine forgave you; we must follow her example.”


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