Kenya: Former catechist denies role in Kaiser murder
NAIROBI, September 11, 2007 (CISA) - A suspect in the unresolved murder of American Mill Hill missionary, Father John Kaiser, has said he is innocent.

Francis Kantai, a former catechist now married to Kaiser’s cousin and living in the United States, told a Kenyan newspaper that he would have no reason to kill the priest whom, he said, was a close friend of his.

Kaiser was murdered seven years ago. A public inquest into his death recommended last month that Kantai and two other suspects be investigated to establish whether they had a role in the priest's death. Acting Nairobi Magistrate Maureen Odero said Kantai’s evidence to the inquest was “unreliable, evasive and contradictory.”

The inquest also found it curious that Kantai, though close to Kaiser, did not attend his funeral, gave misleading information to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and had earlier on lied to the priest.

Attorney general Amos Wako has ordered police to commence fresh investigations.

“Although I highly welcome any investigation, I feel like I am being sacrificed, abandoned and betrayed by my country and church,” Kantai told The Standard from his home in Nebraska.

He believes that the people who were summoned to testify at the inquest in Nairobi and Naivasha Law Courts were selected to implicate him. Kantai, married to Kaiser's cousin, Camille, said he was not afraid to clear his name.

"Why would I kill the priest? I had a very good relationship with him. He was my friend, my mentor and pastor, and for the last several months before his death, I was like a son," he said.

Kantai said he married on May 25, 2002, in Monz, Zambia, after the Catholic Church in Kilgoris failed to respond to their request to bless their marriage. He moved to the US in October 2003. The couple has three children.

"Father Kaiser was my whole world and I knew without him life could have been hard. I loved my job and I couldn't jeopardize it. Besides, I had met this girl who was Kaiser's relative (Camille) and he was the only link I had to her," Kantai said.

Though he looks forward to the revelation of who killed Father Kaiser, Kantai does not see police getting more information from him since he said "everything" at the inquest.

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