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10.04.2007 Kenya

Ghanaian priest murdered in Kenya

By myjoyonline

A Ghanaian Catholic priest, Rev. Father Martin Addai is reported murdered in Kenya where he worked mainly as the Rector of the Missionaries of Africa Centre in South B.

He is reported to have been shot at close range by unidentified persons on March 10, while on his way to pick a Ghanaian friend who was to accompany him to Ghana's mission in Lavington, Kenya to celebrate 50 years of Independence.

He is reported to have also planned to first stop at Panari Hotel on Mombasa Road for a friend, also a fellow countryman, who had landed in Kenya the previous day from China.

The late Father Addai was said to hail from Akrofuom near Obuasi in Ashanti. He has since been buried but Kenyan police who say they suspect he was directly targeted by his assassins are still looking for clues to the murderers.

His killing received wide publicity in Kenya and beyond.

The following is how one source reported his untimely death.

Mystery Hangs Over Murder of Ghanaian Priest

Two weeks after the murder of Ghanaian priest Martin Addai, circumstances surrounding the death remain a mystery.

Detectives are struggling to account for the last 30 minutes of his life, saying it holds the key to resolving the murder puzzle.
Since his arrival in Kenya in 2004, Father Martin was based at the Missionaries of Africa Centre in South B, the last place he was seen alive on March 10.

He had left the centre alone in his car at around 2pm, and 30 minutes later, someone called the police after he saw a body being thrown out of a speeding car, several metres from Mombasa Road.

Police who arrived at the scene, near the abandoned Jokim police patrol base, found out that Fr Martin had been shot.

Detectives have explained that the motive of the murder was mere execution since nothing was stolen from the priest.

Fr Martin's wallet containing cash, a mobile phone and other personal items were found intact at the scene where his body was dumped.
Later, a post-mortem report showed that he died of a single bullet fired through the chest at close range.

It penetrated through the lung and heart and lodged in the spinal cord, according to the autopsy.

A witness' description of the getaway vehicle has left doubts as to whether the body was thrown out of Fr Martin's car or whether his killers used their own.

After throwing out the body, the vehicle raced towards Mombasa Road and the witness did not have time to record its registration numbers.
The priest's compatriot and colleague, Brother Anthony Baaladong, said yesterday the getaway car was white, and had tinted windows.

He added: "Martin's car is indeed white, but its windows are clear. So it seems a different car was involved, but investigations have not proved so."

Fr Martin's car was recovered the following day near St James Hospital.

On the fateful day, he had left the mission intending to pick a Ghanaian friend who was to accompany him to the country's mission in Lavington to celebrate 50 years of Independence.

He had also planned to first stop at Panari Hotel on Mombasa Road for a friend, also a fellow countryman, who had landed in Kenya the previous day from China.

Picked a friend

"In fact it's Martin who had picked the friend who I've met only once at the airport and driven him to the hotel," said Br Baaladong.
Initially, the friend was to be the first to be interviewed by police who are investigating the murder.

At the scene of crime, Fr Martin's cell phone had rang from one of the pockets as police prepared to take away the body. An officer at the scene of crime answered the call.

The caller identified himself and said he was expecting Fr Martin at the hotel. He also complained he was getting impatient since the time they were supposed to meet had elapsed by almost 20 minutes.
Police further interviewed him and found no cause to hold him for questioning.

Close associates at the mission centre told Nation that the priest had not shown any uncharacteristic emotions on the fateful day. Most of those who knew him well learnt of his death more than 12 hours after police recovered the body.

"Though I was not here at the time he left, those who saw him said he looked okay and thus the report of his death was a surprise," said Br Baaladong.

Anxiety had started building up at the centre at 7pm, five hours after he had left the station, when his students and colleagues realised that calls to his mobile phone were not being answered.
"We suspected the worst after we contacted security personnel at the hotel's entrance and realised he had not driven into the premises," Br Anthony said.

He went on: "So at around midnight, we reported the matter to Industrial Area Police Station.

"The police recorded the statement as that of a missing person and promised they would call us later."

The call came through at round 1.30am and Brother Anthony and other colleagues were called to the station where police broke the sad news.

Police confirmed that no suspects had been arrested in connection with the killing.

Detectives on the case have also not found any clues that could hasten the hunt for the assassins.

The priest's colleagues have also not volunteered information of his associates, Nation learnt.

The eulogy for Fr Martin read during the burial on Saturday last week stated that he was a "no-nonsense type of person. He worked so hard to put lots of things in order academically, politically and in the spirit of society."

He was described as humble and joyful, close to people and very supportive.

Even after the burial, there is anxiety at the centre in which Fr Martin was in charge.

The facility, which trains young priests from all over the world, was started in 1997.

Born on November 12, 1960, in Kumasi Ghana, Fr Martin arrived in Kenya in 2004 after he was appointed the centre's rector.

He was also a lecturer in Medical Ethics, at Tangaza College, a constituent college of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.
Fr Martin took his perpetual vows as a Missionary of Africa, in Totteridge, London in 1989. He was ordained priest in 1990.

He has served in Mozambique and also lived in Canada and Rome.
His family and friends from Ghana who came to attend the burial left the country yesterday.

Credit: The Nation (Nairobi) April 5, 2007
News Article By Fred Mukinda

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