ROME — Police in Kenya arrested a suspect accused of brutally murdering a Catholic priest in 2019.
According to a June 15 report by Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, police arrested Michael Muthini Mutunga, who was in hiding for more than a year after being released on bail. He is accused of murdering Father Michael Maingi Kyengo, 43.
Kyengo, a parish priest in Thatha in the Diocese of Machakos, had been staying with his parents at their home about 32 miles north of Nairobi before his family reported him missing in October 2019.
Kyengo’s body was discovered after investigators found the then-25-year-old Mutunga with the priest’s cellphone, car and credit card; he then led investigators to the shallow grave where Kyengo was buried.
Two other suspects — Solomon Mutava and Kavivya Mwangangi — were also arrested for participating in the killing.
Mutunga was released on bail in December 2019 while awaiting a hearing for the murder. However, police issued a warrant for his arrest when he failed to appear in court.
Kyengo’s death was among a string of homicides of clergy that year.
Several Kenyan priests were killed in the country during robberies as well as for their opposition to human rights abuses and strong stands against corruption.
In some cases, authorities said, the clergymen were likely targeted by people who think they may be carrying large amounts of church funds.