Monday, August 23, 2010

Kenyans, family gather to remember US Mill Hill priest killed in 2000

Kenyans, family gather to remember US Mill Hill priest killed in 2000

By Francis Njuguna
Catholic News Service

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) -- Kenyan church leaders and friends and family of a U.S. missionary slain 10 years ago gathered at a Mass to remember him and to pray that the priest's killer is brought to justice.

Father Kaiser (CNS file)

Although a 2007 inquest into the death of U.S. Mill Hill Father John Kaiser recommended a fresh investigation into his death, "no substantive action has been taken in regard to these findings and recommendations," said Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth of Kisumu, chairman of the Kenyan bishops' justice and peace commission.

"It's depressing to note that 10 years down the line, we are yet to be told as to who killed our brother" along the busy Nairobi-Naivasha highway Aug. 24, 2000, said Archbishop Okoth.

"We pray hard that one day, the truth will be told as to who killed our beloved brother," he told those in attendance Aug. 19 at Holy Family Minor Basilica.

Father Anthony Chantry, international superior general of the Mill Hill Fathers, said in a statement that it was disturbing to see the lack of progress in finding Father Kaiser's killers.

"On behalf of those who continue to seek justice for Father Kaiser, I call upon the government of Kenya to do all in its power to find, try and punish those responsible for Father Kaiser's murder. To this end, I strongly urge the government of the United States of America to ensure that the FBI cooperate fully in these new investigations," said his statement, read by Father Liam Cummins, regional superior.

Because Father Kaiser was an American, the FBI was called in to investigate his death and theorized that the priest had committed suicide. The 2007 inquest discounted that theory and said the 67-year-old priest was murdered by a third party.

The priest's nephew, Christopher Kaiser, who attended the Mass, told Catholic News Service, "We as family members are not looking to be compensated ... but simply to see that justice is done on the issue."

"Our prayer and hope is that one day, the culprits will be brought to book," he added.

Throughout his 36-year stay in Kenya, Father Kaiser, a native of Perham, Minn., was an outspoken champion of the rights of the poor and dispossessed. He criticized government officials and ministers on several occasions, most notably when giving evidence to a commission of inquiry into politically motivated tribal clashes in the Rift Valley province.

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