Woman kills expectant co-wife in Elgeyo Marakwet

Police in Elgeyo Marakwet are probing an incident in which a woman allegedly killed her expectant co-wife following a feud.

Mercy Cheyech, 23, who was eight months pregnant is alleged to have been hacked to death by her co-wife in a brutal killing in Kibendo Village, Keiyo North Sub-county on Saturday night.

According to area assistant chief Paul Kipyego, the suspect walked for about four kilometres from her matrimonial home to her mother-in-law’s house where Cheyech lived and allegedly committed the offence.

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Residents said they heard a quarrel and upon arrival at the home, they found the deceased had been seriously injured and was bleeding profusely.

Mr Kipyego said Cheyech, who came from neighbouring West Pokot County was rushed to Iten County Referral after the 8 pm incident but succumbed to the injuries.

The suspect of the killing Goreti Ayabei, 28, is reported to have cut Cheyech several times on the neck using a machete following a disagreement.

Ayabei, a mother of four was arrested as she attempted to flee the scene and is being questioned at Tambach Police station.

Penix Korir, 30, brought in Cheyech a month ago as his second wife and took her to his mother’s house where she has been living.

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The killing sparked fear in Kibendo after Cheyech’s relatives and elders from Pokot South showed up on Monday and demanded Sh100,000.

They demanded the sum of money, claiming it would be used to calm West Pokot youth who were planning to attack the family of Cheyech’s husband to avenge the killing.

The assistant chief said the demands by West Pokot elders halted ongoing burial meetings.

Mr Kipyego said crisis meetings were called on Monday, but relatives from the man’s family disputed the amount, saying it was too high.

“The meetings were also taking place on Tuesday. The man’s family is negotiating for lesser amount of money. The West Pokot residents are insisting the money will be given out to the angry youths,” Mr Kipyego said.

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Mr Kipyego said the West Pokot residents are also claiming that the husband of the deceased had not paid dowry, but the two families agreed that dowry will be paid after the burial.

“The elders have agreed that the dowry will be paid after the burial but they have stood their ground on the Sh 100,000 demand,” he said.

 “The husband (Korir) was away at the time of the incident and he could not explain why his elder wife attacked the younger wife. The police are probing the incident and we are still waiting for the report,” said Mr Kipyego.

Yesterday, Korir told The Standard that his two wives had never quarreled since December 21 when she brought her in.

“I am totally shocked by what happened. I had asked my first wife that I would be bringing in a new wife and she told she would be ready to welcome her. My new wife was due to deliver next week,” an agonized Korir explained.

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He said he met Cheyech in Kabuchbuch in West Pokot where he works for a construction company, and two were expecting to live a happy life after the expected birth of their baby.

“I came home to my first wife on Saturday and I was told she has stepped out. I was later informed he has killed my new wife. I am yet to come to terms with what she did,” he said.

Korir said he has left the decisions on Sh100,000 demands by in-laws to his elders, saying the matter is a cultural issue that can only be handled by elders.

Elgeyo MarakwetWest Pokot County