South Africa: Salesian missionary murdered

 A Salesian priest who worked with homeless people in Capetown, was murdered at the weekend, South African police confirmed last night. Fr Declan Collins, who came to South Africa from Ireland 14 years ago was found dead at his house behind the Catholic Church in Ennerdale, Johannesburg on Saturday night. A police spokesperson said he had been hit on the head with a brick and stabbed. Fr Declan lead a number of campaigns on behalf of homeless people in Capetown. He exposed the fact that some traffic police were systematically torturing street children and vagrants. He also reported that police were picking up homeless people and dumping them out of town. Together with Fr Coleridge Daniels he was a member of the Community Liaison Police Forums and was very active in encouraging good community policing in Cape Town city bowl. Recently their Dom Bosco Outreach programme at Sea Point resulted in a drop in petty crime and car theft. Fr Declan is quoted on the Salesian website, saying: "This is a blueprint project for other police stations to follow." Fr Declan set up a 'Big Issue' type magazine to be sold by jobless people on the city's streets. He also established a homeless hostel. A former director of a Cape Town home for street children, Annette Cockburn, told the Star newspaper: "Declan was a warrior and he always fought for what he believed in. He was down to earth, and many people in Cape Town are very upset about the way he died." source: The Salesians/The Star

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