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Kenyan priests arrested in wake of bishop's death


Kenya has been stunned by the news of the arrest of two priests from Kenya's Isiolo diocese, in connection with the recent murder of Bishop Luigi Locati.

Catholic World News reports that as Bishop Locati was being buried on Wednesday, the emergence of evidence suggesting that diocesan priests were involved in the crime astounded mourners.

Police had arrested one priest on Tuesday, while the other was taken into custody on Wednesday. Six other people are being held for questioning in the case.

Bishop Locati was killed by a group of gunmen near his residence on Thursday last week. Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki, who joined hundreds of mourners at the bishop's Wednesday funeral, vowed that authorities would track down the killers.

Earlier reports had suggested that the killing might have been arranged by political enemies of Bishop Locati, who had been outspoken in denouncing official corruption and black-market profiteering. But after questioning several suspects, investigators turned their attention to priests who were unhappy with the bishop's personnel decisions. Robert Kitur, and assistant police commissioner, told reporters that he was confident the investigation had produced enough evidence to solve the murder case.

The two priests who were arrested were Fr Cyril Mukuchia and Fr Peter Malley Guyo Wako. A senior investigator, Mohammed Amin, told journalists in Isiolo that Fr Malley had recently been forced out of a parish assignment because of complaints that he was squandering funds. Fr Mukuchia had been involved in a dispute over the management of two schools that eventually were closed down on the bishop's orders.

Church leaders were stunned by the arrests, but supported the official investigation. "I hope the law will take its course, if it is true that the priests were involved in the murder," said Nairobi's Archbishop Raphael Ndingi Mwana'a Nzeki.

SOURCE
Kenyan priests arrested in bishop's death (Catholic World News 21/7/05)

ARCHIVE
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22 Jul 2005