SHARE
COPY LINK
INTERNATIONAL

CRIME

Death sentence for killers of Italian bishop

A Kenyan Roman Catholic priest and four others were sentenced to death Thursday by a court in Nairobi for murdering an elderly Italian bishop almost a decade ago.

Death sentence for killers of Italian bishop
Luigi Locati was killed in 2005. Photo: HO/Nairobi Kenyan Catholic Sec/AFP

"Catholic priest Guyo Waqo and four others have been sentenced to death for the murder of Isiolo Bishop Luigi Locati," Kenya's Public Prosecutions office said in a statement.

Prosecutors said the five men shot and killed 77-year-old Bishop Luigi Locati in July 2005 after a row over cash donated to the Isiolo diocese in central Kenya.

The popular Locati was slain at the church compound in Isiolo, some 250 kilometres north of the capital, in what prosecutors said was a power struggle for control of the diocese and its cash ahead of the bishop's retirement.

After an eight-year trial, Father Waqo Guyo was named on Tuesday as the mastermind of the plot, having recruited Mohammed Molu Bagajo, Aden Ibrahim Mohamed, Mahati Ali Halake, and Roba Balla Bariche to carry out the killing.

Judge Fred Ochieng ruled the five were "directly involved in the planning and killing of the bishop".

However, it is unlikely the death sentence will be carried out on the men, who all denied the murder and can still appeal the ruling.

Kenya has not carried out executions since 1987, although capital punishment is not formally abolished.

Locati, from the northern Italian province of Vercelli, was ordained a priest in 1952 and came to Kenya ten years later. He set up the Isiolo diocese in 1963.

The murder outraged many Kenyans with hundreds – including then President Mwai Kibaki – attending his funeral in Isiolo.

A sixth man, Diga Wario, was acquitted of the murder.

READ MORE: Kenyan priest guilty of murdering Italian bishop

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

MAFIA

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

In its latest mafia sting, Italian police took down a large 'Ndrangheta ring in southern Calabria, placing 56 people under investigation including a regional councillor and a former head of the regional tourism board.

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

The early-morning blitz by over 300 police focused on areas of Calabria – Italy’s poorest region – under the control of the Mancuso clan, a powerful branch of the infamous ‘Ndrangheta, many of whose top operatives are among hundreds of defendants in an ongoing ‘maxi-trial’.

Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.

READ ALSO: ‘Ndrangheta: It’s time to bust some myths about the Calabrian mafia

Besides alleged mafia members, the operation also snared businessmen, a regional councillor released from prison days earlier, a former head of the regional tourism board and two civil servants, police said.

The incarcerated boss of the clan, Luigi Mancuso, also known as “The Supreme”, is the biggest mafioso in the massive mafia trial that started in January 2021.

Still, police said, his clan and affiliates, including the La Rosa and Accortini families, have continued to dominate illegal activities in the Vibo Valentia province, which is located right on the toe of Italy’s boot and is widely known as the ‘Coast of the Gods’ due to its stunning coastal views.

One mafia scheme involved the infiltration of a foreign tour operator in Pizzo Calabro, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.

No one talks

In Calabria, the extent of the ‘Ndrangheta’s reach in the local economy has made it near impossible to eradicate it.

By controlling the bulk of cocaine flowing into Europe, the ‘Ndrangheta has surpassed Sicily’s Cosa Nostra in power and wealth. It has extended far beyond its rural roots and now operates internationally, with illegal gains reinvested in the legitimate economy.

In the area around Vibo Valentia, extortion of local businesses and the fixing of public tenders is also common.

The allegations against those arrested Thursday include the transport and sale of stolen farm machinery to Malta and Romania, police said.

The sting carried out on Thursday extended to other parts of Calabria, Palermo in Sicily and as far as Rome and Milan, police said.

READ ALSO: Meet Nicola Gratteri, the prosecutor leading Italy’s battle against the mafia

In a press conference, anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, whose efforts to defeat the ‘Ndrangheta have forced him to live under police escort for over 30 years, called the group a “fierce mafia syndicate” controlling areas around the tourist resort of Tropea.

Francesco Messina, who leads Italy’s organised crime investigative unit (DAC), cited the economic power of the clan, which relies locally on “substantial” extortion activity.

The “total absence” of complaints to authorities was striking, Messina said, underscoring the ‘Ndrangheta’s power to intimidate.

By Alexandria Sage

SHOW COMMENTS