Kenyan bishops repeat: missionary did not commit suicide

(There is a glitch in the dates on some archived stories on ICN. This story was published on 24 August 2001).

On first anniversary of the death of missionary Fr John Kaiser, the Kenyan Episcopal Conference have issued a statement insisting that the 67-year-old missionary of St Joseph's Mill Hill Society did not kill himself.

The bishops call on the Kenyan government: "to re-examine its conscience on matters of public safety and security. Indeed a government unable to protect the lives of its citizens is a questionable one".

The Missionary News Service report that a number of services are taking place this week in memory of Fr Kaiser, who was found shot dead a year ago tomorrow, (24 August) near Lake Naivasha, 70km west of Nairobi.

A public symposium will be examining the FBI report on Fr Kaiser's death, which went along with a local police report claiming the priest had shot himself (in the back of his head with a long-distance rifle).

Other reports contradicted this story, but were not examined. More than 100,00 postcards are being sent to the attorney general of Kenya, General Amos Wako, calling for an official inquiry. On Saturday, Mass will be celebrated at the site where Fr Kaiser's body was found.

On Sunday, commemoration services will be held in parishes throughout the country for Fr Kaiser and other missionaries who have lost their lives in Kenya. Fr. Kaiser served in Kenya for more than 35 years and was known for his campaigning work on behalf of the poor.

At an official commission, he recently spoke out about the part played by two powerful Kenyan State Ministers, Ole Ntimama and Nicholas Biwot in 1993 tribal clashes. He also helped several teenage girls pursue sexual abuse cases against Cabinet member Julius ole Sunkuli.

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