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American Missionary Killed in Congo

Jan. 26, 1964 - Guerrilla bands in the Kwilu Province in the Congo have killed an American Baptist missionary, Miss Irene Ferrel, with a poisoned arrow, missionary sources said today. Miss Ferrel’s associate missionary, Miss Ruth Hege, was attacked and seriously wounded. She was reported to have been hospitalized in Kikwit, the capital of Kwilu which is 300 miles east of Leopoldville, with both hands hacked off. Both women represented the Baptist Mid-Missions of Cleveland, Ohio, and both had been in the Congo for many years. Miss Ferrel, 42, of Jerome, Idaho, went back to the U.S. when the Congo became independent in 1960 and returned in 1961. Miss Hege, 58, is from Wellington, Ohio. She first came to the Congo as a missionary in 1931.

Idiofa, the largest town in the rebellious section of the province, was taken over today by guerrillas, officials said. A missionary airplane flying over the area reported that almost all mission stations, Roman Catholic as well as Protestant, had been burned down. American missionaries in Leopoldville said that since last Friday they had been pleading for United Nations help to evacuate all their people from Kwilu Province. Two Swedish U.N. helicopters evacuated nine American missionaries from Kwilu last Thursday but have not flown into rebel territory since.

U.S. Embassy sources believe there are about 110 American missionaries and members of their families still in Kwilu. Miss Ferrel was the first Protestant missionary reported killed in the Congo since 1960. Her death brings to four the number of victims of guerrilla gangs led by a former education minister, Pierre Mulele, who has been linked with Communist China. Three Catholic priests were slaughtered by the guerrillas last Tuesday. They were hacked to death with machetes.


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