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Fr Léopold Feyen (OSV News/Salesians of Don Bosco Facebook page)

An elderly Salesian missionary priest was killed last week in the Democratic Republic of the Congo under unclear circumstances. Source: OSV News.

Fr Léopold Feyen, 82, was found dead on December 12 in his room in Masina, a municipality in the province of the capital, Kinshasa. Some media reports said his body had several stab wounds.

“He was killed by people who knew him very well. That’s why he could allow them to enter his room. What I gather is that he was stabbed, and not shot,” said Fr Innocent Halerimana Maganya, a Congolese priest who is a director of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue and Islamic Studies at Tangaza University in Nairobi.

“He had just returned from Belgium, and I think the killers thought he had a lot of money. He was working with people who live on the streets,” the priest said.

Congo, a mineral-rich country in central Africa, is ravaged by deadly conflict in the eastern part of the country which spans an area the size of Western Europe, with an estimated population of more than 100 million people. While several Catholic priests have been killed in the war-torn regions such as North Kivu, Fr Feyen was killed in a relatively peaceful region near the capital.

Known as Koko Pol, Fr Feyen ministered at the parish of Mary Help of Christians.

According to reports, the priest was struggling with some health challenges due to his age, and was no longer involved in demanding tasks for the parish. However, he still managed the gardens and cultivated fruits and vegetables for nearby Catholic schools.

Fr Feyen was born in Hechtel, Belgium, in 1941. In 1961, he made his first profession as a Salesian of Don Bosco, and in 1967 he took his final vows. The priest had served in the Democratic Republic of Congo for nearly 40 years.


Elderly Belgian Catholic missionary killed in Congo as the country prepares for elections (By Frederick Nzwili, OSV News)