A Catholic priest and four other people have been found guilty of conspiring to kill an Italian bishop based in Isiolo eight years ago over control of church funds.
Father Guyo Waqo Malley, Mohamed Molu, Aden Ibrahim Mohamed, Mahati Ali Halake and Roba Balla Bariche were yesterday found guilty of planning and killing Bishop Luigi Locati in 2005.
However, High Court Judge Fred Ochieng acquitted Diqa Wario who had been charged alongside the five.
The judge will sentence the five individuals accused of gunning down the 77-year-old bishop on July 14, 2005 who was in-charge of Isiolo diocese tomorrow (Thursday).
While acquitting Wario, Justice Ochieng said the matter for determination was whether he was aware that the gun he was hiring out was meant for the execution of the Bishop.
The judge observed that Wario did not know that the rifle was going to be used to kill Bishop Locati as he had been informed that it was being hired for hunting.
Ochieng added that it was clear that Wario was not at the scene of crime when the shooting took place but he, however, did not deny supplying the gun.
Father Guyo’s role, said the judge, was to finance the acquisition of firearms, plan and recruit persons to execute the Bishop and also helped in the storage of the guns and transportation.
The judge said there was sufficient evidence that Mr Molu took part in one of the meetings and also attacked the Bishop on the fateful day while armed with a ‘rungu’.
Mr Ibrahim was recruited to kill the Bishop and he also purchased a G3 rifle which he was arrested with at the scene of crime while Mr Halake took part in planning and acquisition of guns and was also paid by Guyo.
The judge noted that Mr Bariche was directly involved in the killing because he was the link between Father Guyo and the others.
The case had dragged on for almost a decade and after about three years into the suit the case had to commence afresh.
The suspects were accused of conspiring to kill the elderly bishop in order to seize control of the church funds.
A police officer who investigated the incident, Mohammed Amin, told the court that he established that there was bad blood between Father Guyo and the Bishop.
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Mr Amin said he established that Locati had issued instructions to the effect that Guyo should desist from soliciting donor funds which was Guyo’s lifeline and this did not go down well with the latter.
The court heard that guns were bought at Sh3,000 and concealed in sacks of charcoals which were ferried using a mission vehicle.
The court heard that Roba Bariche, Diqa Wario and Guyo worked in cahoots to ensure that the plans to kill the bishop were in place.
“The guns were later hidden at Makaburini after the incident occurred. When they were recovered, a G3 magazine was missing,” Amin told the court.
Video evidence was also used in the suit, which showed clips containing confessions from men accused of killing Locati.
In the video clips, two suspects narrated in detail how they planned the murder, the guns acquisition, where they hid them after the incident and how they killed the Bishop.
In the video, Mr Bariche claimed how they had plotted the killing of the clergyman with Fr Marley being the one who masterminded the the heinous crime.