Priest resigns after receiving racist abuse and death threats for defending refugees

The Congolese priest had been preaching in the parish near Munich since

A Catholic priest has resigned after receiving death threats and racist abuse in southern Germany.

Oliver Ndjimbi-Tshiende is of Congolese origin and told parishioners of his decision during a service on Sunday.

The resignation came after tensions erupted betwenn Ndjimbi-Tshiende and two local politicians from the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) party. The 66-year-old priest had criticised local CSU leader Sylvia Boher who had spoken on an "invasion" of Eritrean "refugees from military service", according to the BBC.

The comments were made in reference to a surge in the number of Eritreans seeking asylum in Germany as they flee spending years in military service for awful pay and appalling conditions.

After Ndjimbi-Tshiende's intervention another CSU politician, Johann Haindl, racially abused the priest.

Both Haindl and Boher have been heavily criticised and resigned from their posts. Police are now investigating a suspected crime of racial incitement and abuse.

A statement on the parish's website said: "We are shocked and saddened by these [death] threats." Ndjimbi-Tshiende had been preaching in the town near Munich in Bavaria since 2012.

An online petition has been launched to urge him to stay but the Catholic Church Archbishopric in Munich has said it plans to transfer him to a new post as early as April 1.