FIGHT OVER POWER

Legio Maria priest injured as wrangles escalate

He was rushed to hospital after he was attacked at Got Kweru, the church’s holy grounds

In Summary
  • Power struggles pit church’s pope Raphael Adika and patriarch Romanus Ong’ombe
  • Police say members of the sides are arming themselves with crude weapons
Legio Maria patriarch Romanus Ong'ombe prays in Got Kweru, Suna West subcounty, where church founder Melkio Ondetto is buried
HOLY WAR? Legio Maria patriarch Romanus Ong'ombe prays in Got Kweru, Suna West subcounty, where church founder Melkio Ondetto is buried
Image: FILE

A Legio Maria priest is among 10 followers who have injured in ongoing leadership wrangles in Migori county.

On Wednesday night, the priest who was not identified was rushed to Migori Referral Hospital after he was attacked at Got Kweru, the church’s holy grounds in Suna West.

Last week, nine people were injured in the same venue and two vehicles torched by attackers.

So far police are yet to make any arrests in the power struggle pitting the church’s pope Raphael Adika and patriarch Romanus Ong’ombe.

Migori police boss Joseph Nthenge said there was fear of more violence as intelligence reports showed members of the sides are arming themselves with crude weapons.

“We have reports from the church leadership that faithful are armed to create havoc at  Got Kweru where there is a pilgrimage to celebrate anniversary on the death of the founding leader Melkio Ondetto who is buried there,” Nthenge said.

He said in the Wednesday night attack, a section of members stormed the church with arrows and pangas and seriously injured a priest who was conducting a prayer service.

He said police were considering shutting down the holy ground if the situation deteriorates.

The pilgrimage covers September 5-17 with members walking from Amoyo village, which they call Jerusalem, all the way to Got Kweru over 50km away.

Got Kweru is currently controlled by Ong’ombe supporters while Adika is holed up in Amoyo with both sides conducting prayers.

 

“They are free to continue with their prayers peacefully but should the tension continue then we may be forced to close down the prayers to avert further casualties,” Nthenge said.

Ong’ombe and his team could not be reached for a comment, while Adika said over the phone that he is currently conducting prayers at Amoyo.

Last  month , a high  court  sitting  in  Migori  declared Raphael Adika  the duly  elected  pope while Ong’ombe was to be patriarch.