For the past one month, George Bengo, the manager at Justice Effie Owuor’s farm, was a disturbed man.
He had twice received a call from his would-be killer and several calls from the police and national administrators, all revolving around the controversy of the invasion of the former judge’s 250-acre parcel situated at the volatile Nyangore village at the Kisumu-Nandi border.
The intruder had reportedly invaded the farm with two tractors, but when Mr Bengo asked why he had trespassed on private property, he was threatened with dire consequences.
And the threat came to pass. Bengo was on Saturday killed by the attacker, who was well-known to him, after he finally gave in to the calls to visit the farm and listen to the concerns of the trespasser.
Paul Owuor, Justice Owuor’s son, was seriously injured during the attack and was admitted to the intensive care unit at the Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu.
According to Mary Anyango, Bengo’s wife, her husband left their Migosi Estate residence in Kisumu at about 11am on Saturday to meet the intruder, whom she said had persistently called, asking him to go for a discussion.
“When the man started ploughing the farm about a month ago, my husband called the authorities and reported the matter. But both the police and the national administrators insisted that he physically go to Chemelil and officially report the case,” she said.
Bengo had other engagements and delayed reporting the matter, prompting police and the area administrators to call him. And last week he reported the invasion.
The attacker, known to the family, then called Bengo, asking for a meeting to sort out the matter. On Saturday, Bengo and Paul decided to meet the man.
At the farm, they found almost 30 acres ploughed, with two tractors still roaring.
As the two went closer to engage the intruder, the man signalled other people in a nearby sugarcane plantation and they descended on Bengo and Paul.
Bengo was killed on the spot. His throat was slit and his body had deep cuts in the stomach and head. Paul had several cuts on the head, stomach and limbs.
Yesterday, Bengo’s family was overwhelmed with grief as they viewed the body of the 49-year-old father of one at the Aga Khan Hospital mortuary in Kisumu.
By the time of going to press, Justice Owuor’s family was making arrangements to transfer Paul to Nairobi for specialised treatment.
“It is sad that it had to get to this point before police could act,” said Allan Majisu, Justice Owuor’s eldest son.
According to Nyangore residents, a vigilante group was leasing sections of expansive parcels to unsuspecting investors.
“These people just move around and once they identify any idle land, they grab it and lease it. They also provide security to the investor by attacking anybody who dares to question the grabbing,” said a resident who requested anonymity.
Police said they had intensified the search for the main suspect. Nyanza Regional Police Commander Lewnard Katana and a team of area security personnel visited the crime scene in Muhoroni sub-county.