Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Pioneer Missionary Slain in Kenya

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Pioneer Missionary Slain in Kenya

Article excerpt

An Italian missionary bishop known for his more than 40 years of work with nomad tribes in northern Kenya was beaten and shot to death July 14. Several men have been arrested in the police investigation of the crime, but no motive has been revealed.

Local church officials say the killing was "a personal vendetta" against Bishop Luigi Locati of Isiolo, possibly concerning disputes over control of two schools in the Isiolo vicariate.

According to an Isiolo church officer, Locati had been attacked twice in the last year and he had begun to travel with guards.

Locati, who would have celebrated his 77th birthday July 23, had just returned to his diocese from Nairobi, Kenya's capital, where he had learned that Pope Benedict had accepted his resignation.

According to Joseph Samala, the local church development coordinator, Locati was attacked about 7:45 p.m. as he walked the short distance from his office to his residence, which are in the same compound. He and a guard were ambushed by a group of men who beat the bishop and then shot him in the head and neck. Locati was rushed to the local hospital, but died within 90 minutes.

The bishop had been attacked on the same walk from office to home in September last year. In March, a bomb was exploded outside his home in the middle of the night.

Locati was ordained a priest in 1952 for the Vercelli, Italy, archdiocese and sent to Kenya as a missionary priest in 1962. He served as pastor of the parish in Isiolo from 1963 until 1995 when he was named the bishop of the newly erected Isiolo apostolic vicariate. …

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