Police arrest man suspected of killing elderly persons over witchcraft

By Standard Reporter

Kilifi,Kenya: Kilifi police are holding a man they claim is the killer behind ten deaths since 2004 in Ganze District.

His victims have been the elderly or people suspected of practising sorcery and police said he killed them “after being paid”. They added that he about to wipe out a family when he was nabbed.

But it is not clear why the suspect has been held without charge since July 18 or if police have sought court permission to continue holding him.

Ganze has registered dozens of murders of people accused of sorcery with a recent report indicating that authorities collect about five bodies of slain suspected sorcerers every week.

Police suspect relatives eyeing the victims’ land and other property make up tales of witchcraft to justify the murders.

Bahari OCPD Justin Nyaga yesterday told The Standard that the suspect, 45, is behind bars at the Kilifi Police Station after being arrested by Bamba police on July 18. “We have arrested a 45-year-old man who has been accused of killing suspected witches in Ganze District after he was paid,” said Mr Nyaga.

Earlier, the sub-chief for Mikamini sub-location in Banadari Location, Umi Katana, told The Standard that the man was arrested when his plan to kill a mother and son on suspicion of practising witchcraft was leaked.

Sources indicated yesterday that a report was made to Bamba police that an unidentified woman had raised Sh20,000 from the sale of cows and paid the man to kill suspected witches.

The administrator said she took the matter seriously as authorities had been looking for a serial killer behind the murder of elderly people in the area.

According to the sub-chief, the suspect told detectives that he killed his victims alone using an axe and machete.

She further said the man is suspected to be the killer in ten murders of elderly men and women in the region.

She said the suspect was arrested as he walked in Bamba township.

The arrest of the suspect comes after politicians, senior police officers and the county administrative officers raised concerns over the rising numbers of murder cases among elderly people on claims they practise witchcraft.

Ganze MP Peter Shehe, who was recently endorsed as a Kaya elder and spokesman of the coastal Mijikenda tribe, condemned the killings and accused police of laxity since they had not arrested any suspects.

Yesterday, OCPD Nyaga said the suspected murderer will be taken to court soon after investigations are completed.