An elderly Italian priest apparently died of suffocation late Friday morning in Nairobi after two attackers tied him up and stuffed his mouth with papers.
The attack took place in Fr. Giuseppe Bertaina’s office at the Consolata Institute of Philosophy where the 82-year-old priest was the administrator, the Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA) reports. The attackers also vandalized his office and fled with an unknown amount of money.
The priest’s body was found on the floor shortly afterward.
Consolata Vice-Superior Fr. Hieronymus Njoya confirmed the events to CISA.
“We have informed the police and investigations are going on. Two watchmen are helping the police with the investigations,” Fr Njoya said.
An unknown woman caught trying to run away from Fr. Bertaina’s office was arrested.
The institute and the police are investigating how the strangers entered the institute during daytime without being noticed.
Fr. Njoya said that Fr. Bertaina’s death was “a big shock” to the staff and the students at the Consolata Institute of Philosophy. Fr. Bertaina, who had been an administrator at the institute since 2005, was a very humble man who was loved by all.
He also had experience at several educational institutes in Kenya, Fr. Njoya said.
Another longtime Consolata missionary, Fr. Anthony Bianci, described Fr. Bertaina as a very friendly priest who made many friends wherever he worked.
The late priest was born in 1927 in Cuneo in Italy. He took his perpetual vows in 1950 and was ordained in 1951.