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Last Updated: Friday, 15 July, 2005, 08:28 GMT 09:28 UK
Catholic bishop killed in Kenya
Bishop Luigi Locati
Bishop Locati was shot by three gunmen
A Roman Catholic bishop has been shot dead in northern Kenya, a Vatican spokesman has said.

Bishop Luigi Locati was killed as he walked to a pastoral centre in the town of Isiolo where he worked, said a Vatican official in Nairobi.

It is unclear why Bishop Locati, who was Italian, was shot.

Police are investigating possible links to ethnic clashes in the north. Isiolo has the same ethnic mix as areas where at least 70 people have been killed.

The BBC's Ishbel Matheson in Nairobi says the bishop's killing could further inflame tensions around Marsabit, where thousands have reportedly fled, fearing revenge attacks after a massacre on Tuesday.

Both areas are inhabited by the Gabra and Borana people, who have a long-standing feud over water and cattle thefts.

"We are investigating the motive of the attack but we suspect it is linked with the conflict between the Gabra and Borana because Catholic priests have been involved in helping people," Eastern province assistant commissioner of police Robert Kipkemoi Kitur told the AFP news agency.

Mr Kitur said the bishop was shot dead by three unknown gunmen.

The 76-year-old was ordained Bishop of Zica nine years ago, having been a member of the clergy for more than half a century.

Bishop Locati died an hour and a half after being shot in the northern town, some 250km (155 miles) from the capital.


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