The Cookstown missionary who was shot by bandits in DR Congo in early January, has revealed how her own quick thinking after the attack “saved my life”.
Maud Kells, who arrived home with the help of two nurses last Sunday, described the attack at her home in Mulita at a press conference today [Friday].
And she has also revealed how the man suspected of shooting her has since been arrested, and will face trial - though she will not be expected to take the stand.
Describing the events of January 4, the 75-year-old nurse explained how the bandits seized on an opportunity to lure her away from her home just fifteen minutes after a midwife visited for advice on a woman in labour at midnight.
A man had “rapped on the window” and asked her to go to the hospital as the patient needed her, she explained.
“For about five minutes I argued with him, but he was so insistent.”
So Maud went to the hospital, but soon realised she wasn’t needed.
On returning to her home - which was situated within a compound - she said: “I went through the first gate, and just as I went in there to go round the gable of the house, these two bandits came running round from the back of the house with the gun just pointed to me.
“They were wearing camouflage clothing and they were wearing masks,” she went on, “the gun was camouflaged as well and I thought the gun was just a bit of wood to frighten me so I went to grab it - and he just pulled the trigger.
“I got quite a shock, but I remained standing,” she explained.
“I could feel the blood trickling down my back, so I put my back to the wall and stood against the wall to try to stop the bleeding.
“I think that saved my life because I had to wait at least seven minutes for help.”
After treatment for her wounds, doctors arrived by plane 12-hours later to give her a much needed blood transfusion.
Maud said they later told her she was lucky to be alive and still able to walk as the bullet narrowly missed her spine - “a miracle”, she said.
“I really thought I was dying as I was haemorrhaging so much.”