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KENYA : Catholic Priest Killed as Ethnic Violence Toll Rises

ICC Note

The violence in Kenya is escalating as Church leaders have been killed by members of tribal gangs. Human Rights Watch reported that Kenyan politicians are organizing and deploying the gangs.

Jan 26, 2008 Kenya (CISA) -A Catholic priest of the Diocese of Nakuru was today killed as vicious inter-ethnic violence claimed more lives in the Rift Valley town.

Fr. Michael Kamau Ithondeka, 41, was killed Saturday morning at an illegal roadblock set up by armed youth on the Nakuru – Eldama Ravine Road. He was vice rector at St Mathias Mulumba Senior Seminary in Tindinyo.

According to Fr Simon Githara, the parish priest of Eldama Ravine, Fr Kamau was accosted by armed youths who claimed they were on a revenge mission after one of their own was killed in Nakuru. His pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears as the youths descended on him with crude weapons, killing him on the spot.

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Our reporter in Nakuru, David Omwoyo, says the violence appears to be revenge against members of the Kalenjin, Luo and Luhyia communities following the recent killing of members of the Kikuyu community in the Rift Valley.

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The death of Fr. Kamau comes in the wake of threats to Kikuyu Catholic personnel working in the Rift Valley Province. In Eldoret, two priests based at Moi University escaped death narrowly last week when goons attacked their house at night.

One of the priests told CISA that he and his colleague had received several threats after violence broke out following the disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki. The priests were successfully evacuated to Burnt Forest , a small town teeming with displaced people on the Eldoret-Nairobi highway.

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