AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Kenyan missionary found dead; Warao indigenous people call for "serious and credible" investigation

Wednesday, 3 January 2024 missionaries  

Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - A "serious and credible" investigation into the death of the missionary "with a big smile". This is what the Warao community from the Delta Amacuro state in eastern Venezuela is demanding in order to clarify the circumstances of the death of Consolata missionary from Kenya, Father Josiah Asa K'Okal.
Father K'Okal's body was found hanging from a tree by police officers in a forest area in Guara, Monagas state, on January 2. The missionary had been missing since January 1, 2024, when he left the Congregation's House in Paloma Sector, Tucupita Municipality, on his bicycle at around 9 a.m., leaving his identification documents and cell phone inside the house. At 10 a.m. he visited residents of Janokosebe settlement on a section of the national highway and was last seen at around 11 a.m. Father K'Okal was a sporty person, a habit he acquired during his time as a marathon runner in Kenya, sometimes running, sometimes cycling, and taking long trips around the communities that he combined with his evangelization work to visit the communities for which he was responsible.
"Dear brother, may your soul rest in peace. Thank you for so much love for this Venezuelan land, thank you for being a great missionary. May Maria Consolata keep you among her chosen ones," says the website of the Congregation of the Consolata - Missionaries.

According to the Missionary Congregation, Father Josiah Asa K'Okal was born on September 7, 1969 in Siaya, Nyanza, Kenya. He entered the community of Consolata Missionaries, where he made his religious profession in 1993. After theological studies in London (England), he was ordained a priest on August 9, 1997. In 1997 he was sent to Venezuela, where he served in various missions. He also served his congregation as an administrator, council member, deputy superior and superior of the Delegation of Consolata Missionaries to Venezuela. In his great commitment to the Warao indigenous people, since 2006 he has dedicated himself to the study of the language and culture of this people and has accompanied their "migration" to many regions of Venezuela and Brazil due to the crisis that the country is going through. For his commitment and service to the Venezuelan people, he received Venezuelan citizenship and was recognized as a missionary "with the big smile", closeness and dialogue. In 2022, he earned a master's degree in anthropology at FLACSO in Ecuador on the Warao migrating to Brazil: "Between vulnerability and strategic resistance: the case of the displaced Warao in Boa Vista". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 3/1/2024)