25 January 2024, The Tablet

Dancing with the Warao

A Venezuelan tragedy

Dancing with the Warao

Fr Josiah K’Okal: a ‘joyful and genuine’ priest
photo: Instituto Misiones Consolata en Venezuela.


Kenyan missionary Fr Josiah K’Okal lived and worked with Amerindian people. But since he was found hanged on 2 January,  doubts have arisen about the official cause of his death. 

Around 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day in Tucupita, a Venezuelan city on the swampy Orinoco Delta, Fr Josiah Asa K’Okal left the house of his religious order and hopped on his bicycle. The Consolata missionary told no one where he was going. He took his Bible with him but as usual left behind his telephone and the ID papers that showed that, although Kenyan, he was a naturalised Venezuelan. Around 10 a.m., he exchanged friendly greetings with local Indigenous people. An hour later, police saw him at a road checkpoint. Then he vanished. The next morning, his body was found in a forest, dangling from a mango tree.

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