KINSHASA, Congo — A Catholic leader in Congo says gunmen have killed a parish priest after a Mass in Congo’s eastern region.

Father Emmanuel Kapitula in Kitchanga said armed men entered a room in Masisi where the priest, Etienne Nsengiunva, was eating with others on Sunday and shot him dead.

Kapitula called on the government to protect people and to investigate Nsengiunva’s slaying.

The incident took place in North Kivu province, which — along with South Kivu — has been plagued by militia groups for decades. They often extort money from the civilian population.

The killing comes a week after another priest in the region was kidnapped after celebrating Easter Sunday Mass. His assailants asked for a $500,000 ransom. He was released Thursday.

Catholic churches and activists have led nationwide demonstrations this year against Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s extended rule.

The Catholic Church oversaw the signing of an accord a year ago that set a date for a new election in the mineral-rich country, but the election repeatedly has been postponed.

Crux staff contributed to this report.