'ICC witness was trailed for a year before disappearance'

'ICC witness' was 'trailed for a year before disappearance'
A screen shot of a message allegedly from Meshack Yebei who had mysteriously disappeared and later found dead at River Yala in Kapsabet.
The family of the man who went missing in Turbo, Uasin Gishu County on December 28 and his body was later found in Kapsabet had reported to the police that his life was in danger over a year before his badly mutilated body was recovered last week.

According to a preliminary report of a post-mortem conducted yesterday at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital Eldoret mortuary, Meshack Yebei was killed after being hit by a blunt object.

The hospital's chief pathologist Walter Nalianya indicated that Meshack succumbed to the injuries inflicted on his head with a blunt object.

"As per the report the main cause of his death is evident from the cracked skull which was likely hit and the blood had to flow to the brain. His upper teeth were broken and loose," said Meshack's brother, Ben Yebei, who was present during the autopsy conducted yesterday.

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Meshack's mutilated body was recovered on Saturday afternoon by a person near Yala River bridge along the Eldoret-Kisumu road, 15km from Kapsabet town. It was taken to the Nandi County referral mortuary at Kapsabet.

Text message

The family members identified Meshack's body after they were called from the Kapsabet county referral hospital and informed of a body that had been found trapped between the rocks at Yala River, ending a week-long search.

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"After we got to the hospital we identified our brother whose body had been badly mutilated," said one of the brothers.

Clara Yebei, a sister, said her brother had expressed fears over his life after differing with some people over certain issues which she said were political.

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"We were really shocked when Meshack's wife alerted us of his disappearance because he had told me that some people were after his life and we are reading mischief in the murder," she said.

A few days after his disappearance, his mother and a friend received a text message purporting to be coming from him, saying he was safe and in Uganda with some ICC officials.

However, investigations by The Standard indicate that Meshack's woes started in 2013, when his brother Ben Yebei said he reported to Eldoret police that his life was in danger. Police in Eldoret declined to comment on the matter.

"He reported in April 2013 about people who were after his life. The threats seemed to have disappeared and until September where he also reported again at the police, they seemed to have pursued him for a long time," said Ben.

He added that from his friends' recollection, there was one time when a car had trailed him to his home in Eldoret, but Meshack drove past his house.

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Shoddy investigations

"That was a few days after two people had come to his home and asked children in the neighbourhood if indeed Meshack lived in the house," said Ben.

Unconfirmed reports indicate after Meshack, who had contested for a Member of County Assembly's (MCA) seat at Tapsagoi Ward on an independent ticket, excused himself from a dispensary at Turbo to buy water for the his sick child, he was bundled inside a dark saloon car which immediately sped off.

Family members are now blaming the police for not taking any action after their kin complained that some unknown people were after his life.

The family said even after the body was found, police were reluctant to help.

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Reverend Moses Kisorio, an elder brother to the deceased, accused security officers of what he termed as 'shoddy investigations' into a serious matter involving the life of a Kenyan.

Kisorio narrated how, together with a number of relatives, he spent the better part of Monday December 29 recording statements at Eldoret Police Station with the hope of getting assistance.

"On Monday, we went to the Eldoret police station and filled the Occurrence Book (OB) and described the events that led to his (Meshack) disappearance and the officers promised to instantly launch investigations but we never got any updates until we found our brother dead," said Kisorio.

Ben said the family is still aggrieved that police did not make any efforts to help them rescue their brother.

Former Agricultural Development Corporation Managing Director William Kirwa, who is a neighbour and had joined the family in grieving, asked security agencies to hasten and crack the riddle behind Meshack's death.

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ICC murder kidnap