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Bishop Gunned Down in Northern Kenya


Flowers are placed in front of a portrait of Bishop Luigi Locati in the Kenyan Catholic Secretariat in Nairobi
Police are investigating the murder of an Italian-born Roman Catholic bishop who was gunned down Thursday evening in northern Kenya.

Bishop Luigi Locati of Isiolo Diocese was on his way to supper Thursday evening when he was shot in the face and neck. He died shortly afterwards.

Police said Friday that they have arrested two suspects in connection with Bishop Locati's murder in Isiolo, a town about 250 kilometers north of the capital Nairobi.

Police spokesman Jaspher Ombati tells VOA the officers are working with a valuable clue that he says should greatly help in the investigation.

"There was an identity card that was recovered at the scene of the murder, and this will assist our officers in tracking down those people who carried out the attack. We believe that ID card belongs to one of the attackers," said Mr. Ombati.

Police also found a G3 rifle magazine loaded with 18 rounds of ammunition, and two spent cartridges at the murder scene.

Media reports speculated that the 77-year-old bishop could have been killed as part of ethnic violence earlier this week between the Borana and Gabra ethnic groups.

The conflict left at least 80 people dead in and near the northern Kenyan trading center of Turbi near Marsabit, more than 300 kilometers north of where Bishop Locati was killed.

Mr. Ombati says police, so far, have no evidence that there is a connection between the two events.

"We are treating this as a separate incident, and we don't have any evidence to link this with the Marsabit killings," he added.

Bishop Locati was originally from Italy and had served in Kenya since 1962.

Police also said Friday that they are continuing to investigate the ethnic killings. Soldiers have been dispatched to the area, and thousands have fled to seek refuge in Marsabit.

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