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Catholic World News News Feature

Kenyan priests arrested in bishop's death July 21, 2005

The arrest of two Catholic priests from Kenya's Isiolo diocese, in connection with the murder of Bishop Luigi Locati, has stunned Kenya.

Even as Bishop Locati was being buried, on Wednesday, July 20, the emergence of evidence suggesting that diocesan priests were involved in the crime astounded mourners. Police had arrested one priest on July 19; another was taken in on July 20. Six other people are being held for questioning in the case.   Bishop Locati was killed by a group of gunmen near his residence on July 14. 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 Fathers Cyril Mukuchia and Peter Malley Guyo Wako. A senior investigator, Mohammed Amin, told journalists in Isiolo that Fathey Malley had recently been forced out of a parish assignment because of complaints that he was squandering funds. Father 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.  

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