As Cookstown unites in prayer for local hero Maud Kells, who was shot by Congolese bandits just days after receiving an OBE, news has emerged that the veteran missionary is now “up and walking about” after her ordeal.
Facing her fourth evacuation from DRC, it has also transpired that previously reported facts were mistaken and that Maud was shot once - not twice.
A new update from doctors in the Congo, delivered through WEC International, has revealed that the bullet passed right through Maud’s body, breaking one of her ribs and also caused her to lose quite a lot of blood.
Maud’s colleague Philip Crooks, also a WEC International missionary, said reasons for the attack at her home on late on January 4 are still unclear, but that she had to have a blood transfusion after being wounded.
But both Mr Crooks and Maud’s sister Margaret Keane said the brave nurse was aware of the possible dangers of working in DRC, and even had her own personal guard - considered normal for Westerners living in the “volatile area”.
“She’s been evacuated three times before from the Congo,” Mrs Keane explained.
Acknowledging her sister’s bravery, she went on to add: “She depends completely on what the Lord tells her - she really has great faith.
“She has a guard, but then these bandits wouldn’t think anything of shooting a guard, so I was told.
“We have no details of what happened at Mulita yet,” Mrs Keane said, “but maybe when Maud’s up and about a bit, we can [find out].”
When asked if Maud had received any recent threats, Mr Crooks said: “The area that she lives in is volatile.”
But he added: “I can’t imagine personally anyone having anything against Maud. We are totally ignorant of why or what happened, [and] what sort of state the ordinary people in the village are in too - [or] if they were victims as well.”
While WEC International considers whether “there’s a possibility to take her to Kampala in Uganda”, what has become clear is just how lucky 75-year-old Maud has been, following the shooting.
Speaking about Maud’s condition Cookstown’s Rev Greer said: “It’s the mercy of the Lord really that her injuries aren’t serious in the way they could have been - shot inches from your heart, inches from your head.”
The operating surgeon said Maud sustained no major muscle damage, according to her sister.