Kenya: bishops tell police to apologise for arresting church workers

 Following the arrest and assault of members of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC), last week, the Kenya Episcopal Conference (KEC) has called on the police to exercise restraint, adding that the Church would accept an apology from the force. Four members of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) of Kitale Diocese were brutally arrested and detained for seven hours in police cells last Thursday after they peacefully attempted to present a memorandum to the Vice President Moody Awori on the grabbing of land belonging to the local prison. Hon Awori was touring Kitale Prison that day. The four are Fr Gabriel Dolan, Mr Boniface Wanyoike, Mr Thomas Kariuki and Mr Patrick Kizito. In a statement issued yesterday, Kenya's Catholic bishops condemned the brutality meted out on the four during their arrest, especially on Fr Dolan who was shown on television footage being assaulted by a senior police officer. "The brutal, physical violence and the excessive use of force upon the Catholic priest Fr Gabriel Dolan is unjustified and unacceptable," the KEC said in the statement signed by their chairman Bishop Cornelius Karap Korir. Separately, Kitale Bishop Rt Rev Maurice Crowley told CISA that he held an inconclusive meeting on the matter with Kitale District Commissioner Solomon Ouko and his security committee yesterday. Bishop Crowley told CISA, he hoped to have some information by today. The Kitale incident has generated great solidarity from across Kenyan society. Bishops and pastors of the Anglican and other churches, members of the Islamic faith and human rights activists in the country condemned the incident. Fr Dolan, from the St Patrick's Missions Society (SPS), is the Diocese's CJPC Coordinator, while the other three are members based at St Joseph's Parish in Kitale town. "We call for restraint in the Police Force," the bishops said. "Some officers have become very dangerous to the public. To engender public confidence of the changes proposed for the new look of the police force, these officers must be disciplined." Speaking to CISA by telephone from Kitale, Fr Dolan said that at some stage he was called in to the District ommissioner's boardroom where the Bishop and the DC's officers were meeting. The faithful of the Diocese held a peaceful demonstration from Immaculate Conception Parish in the town to the DC's office. More than a thousand faithful, including priests and nuns from Kitale and Lodwar Dioceses took part. Source: Catholic Information Service Africa

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