Kenya: inquest opens into death of Fr John Kaiser

(There is a glitch in the ICN archives which gives an incorrect date on the headline page of  some older stories.)

An inquest into the death of Mill Hill missionary Fr John Anthony Kaiser, began yesterday in Nairobi - two years after the FBI dismissed his death by shooting as suicide.

Fr John's body was found with a gun shot wound to the head near Naivasha, along the highway between Nakuru and Nairobi, in August 2000. His shotgun and pickup truck were found nearby. Many Kenyans, including the Kenyan Bishops' Conference say they believe the 67 year-old priest was murdered in a politically motivated attack. In his 36 years service in Kenya, Fr John campaigned for the poor and was an outspoken critic of the government.

In the 1990s, he supported people internally displaced following ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley region. In 1998 he told a judicial inquiry that two cabinet ministers had trained people to rid the area of government opponents.

Just before his death, Father John supported two young girls who alleged that they had been raped by a senior government minister. The courtroom was packed with Fr John's friends and relatives, as well as priests and nuns who had travelled from different parts of the country. Both sides in the case are planning to call more than 100 witnesses.

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