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 CNS Story:

KENYA-PRIEST Jan-28-2008 (340 words) With photo. xxxi

Mob brutally kills priest amid continuing violence in Kenya

By Francis Njuguna
Catholic News Service

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) -- A mob brutally killed a priest of the Diocese of Nakuru in Kenya's Rift Valley amid continuing postelection violence which has pitted rival ethnic gangs against each other.

Father Michael Kamau, 42, was killed on a Rift Valley road Jan. 26 because the mob reportedly was avenging a death in their community.

As the violence continued Jan. 28, the personnel from the Diocese of Nakuru worked to evacuate church workers trapped in the violence, reported the Catholic Information Service for Africa, a missionary news agency in Africa.

Father John Mbaraka, a local priest, told Catholic News Service that Father Kamau was a member of the Kikuyu ethnic community and that his attackers were most likely of the Kalenjin ethnic community.

Father Mbaraka said Father Kamau knew his attackers because he used to pay their children's school fees when he was a parish priest in the Diocese of Eldoret.

"It is sad that religious people are killed. We are appealing for Kibaki and Raila to address the impending problems in the country," said Father Mbaraka, referring to Kenya President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

More than 800 people have died and more than 250,000 have been forced from their homes since the Dec. 27 presidential election, in which Kibaki was declared the winner. International observers have claimed the election was rigged. Kibaki is a Kikuyu, the tribe that has dominated Kenya's political and economic life since independence from Britain in 1963.

Father Kamau, vice rector of St. Matthias Mulumba Major Seminary, was to celebrate 15 years as a priest Jan. 30.

Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi, president of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, condemned the killing of Father Kamau, saying Jan. 27 that it was unfortunate police have not apprehended those behind the recent killings.

- - -

Contributing to this story was Walter Cheruiyot in Kericho, Kenya.


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