By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
KINSHASA/AMSTERDAM (BosNewsLife)– Congolese police have released detained Dutch missionary Bram Krol after pressure from the Netherlands, friends and colleagues confirmed Friday, August 19.
Krol, known for involvement in massive evangelistic campaigns and planting churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was to fly back to the Netherlands for urgent medical treatment, said the missionary’s Foundation ‘Facilite’ in a statement.
“He is coming back with the first available Air France flight” on Monday, August 22, added Eric Leijenaar, chief editor of influential Dutch evangelical newspaper Uitdaging (Challenge), where Krol publishes a regular column and Bible study.
“He has received back his passport and is currently at the Dutch embassy in Kinshasa,” Leijenaar told BosNewsLife.
The 65-year-old missionary was detained and allegedly mistreated by police Thursday, August 18, while on his way to Kinshasa’s main airport to seek medical help in the Netherlands for a suspected tropical infection.
“TRUMPED UP CHARGES”
Police reportedly detained him on what his friends called “trumped up” charges filed by someone who allegedly stole a house of Krol’s affiliated mission group. “The man was already under judicial investigation. Yet, he made a false accusation in an attempt to lengthen the process,” said ‘Facilite’.”
Additionally, police confronted Krol with “a false accusation that he had a document with politically sensitive information,” the foundation added.
However at Friday’s court hearing, attended by Dutch diplomats, the case was dismissed and the accuser himself charged with wrongdoing, trial observers said. “To exclude [new problems] for Bram, the embassy will accompany him to the airport,” explained ‘Facilite.’
There was no immediate comment from Congolese officials, but the Dutch Foreign Ministry said “the case seems to have been resolved.”
It remained unclear Friday, August 19, when Krol would return to the Democratic Republic of Congo where his evangelistic team held massive evangelism rallies.
Krol said recently that at least 140,000 people made clear they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior at his group’s campaigns in the past six years.
Among the latest apparently new Christian converts were 450 people who attended a campaign day last Sunday, which was attended by some 15,000 people, Krol said.
Missionaries say there is a spiritual hunger in sub-Saharan Africa’s largest country, which has been devastated by wars.
Activists have warned that the Democratic Republic of Congo’s second election since independence on November 28 could spill into violence, if the country’s government doesn’t do more to ensure a just and peaceful vote. (With BosNewsLife Senior Special Correspondent Johan Th. Bos reporting from the Netherlands).