April 8, 2014
An activist Jesuit priest who spent three years living alongside
besieged civilians and rebels in the Syrian city of Homs was
assassinated Monday, according to the Vatican, which said he was
abducted by unidentified gunmen who beat him before executing him in
front of his monastery.
Father Francis Van Der Lugt, 75, a Dutch Jesuit priest, came to Syria
in 1966 and eventually founded a home for children and adults with
mental disabilities outside Homs, where he lived before the
three-year-old civil war started. After fighting began, he relocated to
the rebel-held neighborhood of Bustan al Diwan in Homs Old City, where
he worked with refugees and civilians during the more than two-year-old
siege by regime forces.
“I can confirm that he’s been killed,” Jan Stuyt, secretary of the
Dutch Jesuit Order, told the news agency Agence France-Presse by phone.