Kenya: Another Catholic Priest is Killed by Thugs

A young Catholic priest was among three people shot dead by thugs last night (July 31, 2006) in the Diocese of Machakos in Eastern Kenya. Fr John Mutiso Kivaya, the 35-year-old assistant priest of Masinga Parish, was killed at Tala Town when gangsters sneaked into a hotel where he and two other priests were having supper. The priest was in his hometown to visit his family and friends.

“They were ambushed by a gang of thugs, two of whom had guns, and ordered to lie down. The thugs then just shot at them,” Bishop Martin Kivuva of Machakos told CISA.Two other people – a school teacher and the hotel manager – were also killed.

Media reports said three people, including a senior police officer, were seriously wounded Fr Patrick Musyoka, the parish priest of Tala who was with the late Fr Kivaya, narrowly escaped death when a bullet tore through his sweater, Bishop Kivuva said.

The thugs robbed the priests and the other people of money and mobile telephones. But Fr Musyoka who had two telephones gave out one and later used the other to call the police and the bishop. Fr Kivaya will be buried next Tuesday, August 8, at a ceremony to be conducted by the Archbishop of Nairobi, Raphael Ndingi Mwana ‘a Nzeki, who is the first bishop of Machakos, Bishop Kivuva said. Born in Tala on September 29, 1970, Fr Kivaya was ordained to the priesthood in 1999. Masinga Parish was his second posting.

The violent death of Fr Kivaya comes only two months after that of Fr Jude Kibor, the prisons chaplain of Eldoret Diocese in Western Kenya. Fr Kibor’s body was found in a thicket on the morning of May 11.

In April, Kenya’s Catholic bishops expressed “deep concern about the number of killings throughout the nation and the unacceptable attitude of many in our midst to the lives of others.”
“Robbery, rape, domestic violence, banditry – all sorts of violent crimes - are being reported in the media. What is also worrisome is the fact that far too many cases are never brought to a conclusion, and culprits are never brought to justice,” the bishops said.

Last year, Bishop Luigi Locati of Isiolo Vicariate and two missionary priests - Fr Thomas Richard Heath, Kisumu, and Fr Philip Valayam, Nairobi - were killed by thugs in separate attacks

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