04/24/2015, 00.00
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Nepal: after 18 years, killer of Jesuit missionary arrested

by Christopher Sharma
The murderer of Fr. Thomas Ganfney had been hiding in India. The man had killed the priest to rob him. TheJesuit had founded the first center for social services in the nation, through which he helped the poor and needy.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - After an investigation lasting 18 years, the police in Nepal have arrested the killer of Fr. Thomas Ganfney SJ, a Jesuit priest killed December 13, 1997.

The police arrested Gopal Khadka, 43, in Kakarvitta, in the east, on April 21. The man was trying to return to Nepal from India, where he had remained hidden all these years. The Catholic community has welcomed the news of the arrest of the murderer.

Born in Texas, Fr. Ganfney had founded the first Jesuit center for social services in Nepal, ehich cared for the poor and marginalized. He was found dead on the floor of his residence at around eight in the morning December 13, 1997. He had his throat cut, but there was no evidence of forced doors or signs of struggle.

According police officer Hemanta Karki,  Khadka was working as a domestic worker in the residence of Fr. Gaffney. He knew that the priest had money in the house, the man killed him, stole the money and ran away. Thanks to the open border, he easily passed into India, where he lived until his arrest. "We work against all types of crime - said Karki - anyone involved will be arrested and brought before a judge."

Bill P. Robins, former provincial superior of the Jesuits in Nepal, said: "The Jesuits in Nepal have a good image and are respected by society. We feel safe, and even when the country was a Hindu monarchy we never received any threats. However, we feel more at ease now that Nepal is a secular state, because secularism is the best thing for any democracy in which there is freedom of worship".


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