Slain priest had confided he was having a difficult time at the parish, says colleague

A section of Catholic Priests during a requiem mass at St Peters Catholic Church in Kinoo for the slain Fr John Njoroge who was shot dead by unknown assailants. [Kamau Maichuhie/Standard]
Slain Catholic priest John Njoroge had strained relationships with unidentified people in his church, a colleague said yesterday.

Fr Njoroge, who was shot dead on Monday by unknown assailants who also stole the money he was taking to the bank, was in charge of St Peters Catholic Church in Kinoo.

Fr Patrick Ndung’u, who led a requiem mass for his slain colleague on Wednesday, said he had confided in some priests before he was killed that he was having a difficult time at the parish.

“Fr Njoroge was not a happy man by the time he was killed and had even mentioned names of people who had been giving him problems at the church,” said Fr Ndung’u.

He said his murder appeared to have been premeditated.

Sunday's collection

"The priest was killed by thugs who wanted to steal Sunday's collection," said the priest.

He urged the faithful to support their church leaders instead of frustrating them.

The clergy led worshippers in prayers and a procession from the church to where the priest was shot dead. They then laid flowers at the murder scene.

County Commissioner Wilson Wanyanga, who spoke during Jamhuri Day celebrations, put the criminals who killed the priest on notice, saying the law will catch up with them.

“When you kill, you expose yourself since the DCI will not leave you and when you are caught, you will also go,” said Wanyanga.

County police boss Adiel Nyange declined to comment on the matter, saying it would jeopardise ongoing investigations.

He, however, said the matter was being handled by a team of detectives from DCI headquarters.

Sources indicated a catechist who accompanied the priest when he was killed has already recorded a statement with the police.

Kinoo MCA Kimani Wanjiku described the slain priest as understanding, a good listener, prayerful and a humble church leader.

"We have lost an important person who had touched people's lives in the work he was doing for the church," said the MCA.

Governor Ferdinand Waititu who also attended the requiem mass asked Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to beef up security in the area.

"We want to see the people who killed the priest apprehended and brought to book as quickly as possible. Justice must prevail," Waititu said.

St Peters Catholic church chairman Eugene Wafula said the priest will be buried on Monday at St Mary's Msongari.

Fr Njoroge was followed by criminals riding on a boda boda before they shot him and took away a bag with cash.

Two of the four gangsters were armed with pistols, the police said.

One of them is said to have shot Njoroge in the chest before opening the car's door and taking away a bag that contained money.

The 56-year-old priest is said to have been on his way to a bank in Kikuyu Town to deposit last Sunday’s collection. The amount of money he was carrying still remains unknown.

Pronounced dead

Good Samaritans took the priest to the nearby Kikuyu PCEA Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The catechist who was accompanying the priest in the car escaped unhurt though he was robbed of his mobile phone.

Mr James Waweru, a witness, said after shooting the priest, the thugs quickly opened his car and took away a bag and a mobile phone before fleeing on a motorcycle.

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Fr NjorogeSlain Catholic priest John NjorogeMurderSt Peters Catholic Church