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Official alarmed by rising suicides in Kakamega

By Jackline Inyanji | Published Thu, January 25th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 24th 2018 at 21:38 GMT +3

The rising cases of suicide and murder in western Kenya are causing concern among police in the region.

Mongo Chimwaga, the western regional coordinator, said at least three suicide cases were reported from the region every day.

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Most of the cases were reported in Kakamega.

“Between December 2017 and January 2018, the incidents have been alarming. In a day we receive reports on at least three cases, with Kakamega being in the lead,” Chimwaga said.

He added that a survey was being undertaken to identify the root cause of the suicides and how the deaths can be prevented.

“Preliminary investigations indicate that the main causes are domestic feuds, polygamy, peer pressure, and adultery,” he said.

According to Chimwaga, the situation has been worsened by a veil of silence around suicide, which is traditionally viewed as taboo.

Prevention mechanisms

“Not talking about an issue does not make the problem go away and reduces the chances of victims seeking help, thus making suicide prevention mechanisms futile. People have to first accept they have a problem,” he said.

Youths and marriage couples have been especially hard hit.

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“We recognise the need for suicide prevention strategies and are working to ensure they are in place,” said Chimwaga.

He attributed a number of murder cases in the region to polygamy and land inheritance.

“You find a man has two or three wives and when he dies, the children and the wives start fighting over property. Most of the men do not write wills,” he said.

According to the government official, slow court process in land succession are to blame for some fatal family conflicts.

He directed police to ensure that action was taken to forestall the conflicts or prevent them from escalating.