Sh150,000 transaction links leader to killings

GSU who have been deployed to restore security at Matungu Sub-county when Security CS Matiang'i visited the area on May 16, 2019. Politicians have been linked to the killings. [Benjamin Sakwa/Standard]

One of the politicians arrested in connection with the senseless killings in Matungu, Kakamega County, wired Sh150,000 to two main suspects, the police have said.

Among those arrested and expected in court today are Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, former Sports CS Rashid Echesa, Matungu MP Justus Murunga and Mayoni MCA Libinus Oduor.

Police sources said the politicians may be charged with aiding and abetting murder.

“One of the politicians was arrested after the police found out he had sent a total of Sh120,000 to the suspect arrested in Nairobi. The same politician had also sent Sh30,000 to another suspect, who was coordinating activities of the gang in Matungu,” said a police source familiar with the investigations.

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Police boss 

By yesterday, it was still not clear the courts the politicians will be arraigned today.

“Given the sensitivity of the matter, we are yet to decide whether the four politicians will be arraigned in Kakamega or Kisumu. But by tomorrow (today), we will have decided,” said Western police boss Rashid Yakubu yesterday.

Three more suspects, believed to be members of the outlawed gangs, 42 brothers and 14 brothers, were arrested early yesterday following intensified police operations, led by General Service Unit (GSU) officers.

Among those arrested is the brother to a suspect who was lynched by a mob recently.

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According to the police, he was flushed out from his hideout in Busia Town and transferred to Mumias West Police Station.

Three suspects

Mr Yakubu confirmed the arrest of the three suspects, saying they will also be arraigned in court today.

“We have mounted a 24-hour crackdown to flush out criminal gangs which have been terrorising Matungu residents. We are going to leave no stone unturned in this operation. All suspects in connection with the attacks will be arrested irrespective of their social status,” said Mr Yakubu.

The police are also in hot pursuit of a chief and an assistant chief who have allegedly gone missing after the launch of the crackdown by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i last week.

The two administrators, said to be related, have been adversely mentioned by residents as abetting crime by giving crucial information to the suspects on where the police are to conduct crackdowns. They have also been accused of helping suspects to escape.

Mr Echesa was arrested on Friday at 5:50pm moments after he attended a function presided over by Deputy President William Ruto at the former area senator Boni Khalwale’s home in Malinya.

Malala was picked from a Kisumu hotel where he was addressing journalists. 

He spent the weekend at the Kisumu Central Police Station. His family members were barred from seeing him. However, Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o and Siaya Senator James Orengo were some of the top politicians allowed to visit him.

Mr Echesa spent the weekend at a police station in Eldoret after being transferred from the Kakamega Central Police Station on Friday night.

Police pounced on Mr Oduor on Friday at 1.30pm while he was having lunch at a joint in Mumias Town.

Murunga, the Matungu MP, surrendered to the police before the six-hour deadline he had been given on Saturday morning and was immediately locked up.

The killings have left 20 people dead within two months and 50 others with severe injuries. The most affected areas are Mayoni, Lubanga, Mung’ungu, Munami, Ejinja, Ogalo, Lung’anyiro, Harambe, Sayangwe and Koyonzo.

In Kisumu, residents continued to visit Malala yesterday even as authorities said he would be transferred to Kakamega where he will be charged.

By the time of going to press, it was still unclear when the senator would be transferred to Kakamega.

Prof Nyong’o and his deputy Mathews Owili called for Malala’s release.

Nyong’o, who accompanied the senator’s parents, told journalists the condition of the senator had deteriorated.

“We have come to check on our colleague. He has been denied police bond, but we will seek his release in court,” said Nyong’o.

His family said Malala is diabetic and has high blood pressure, but had been denied access to his doctor.

A number of residents, the senator’s supporters and family continued to hang around the police station hoping he would be released.

Area County Police Commander Benson Maweu confirmed to The Standard that Malala will be transferred to Kakamega.

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Rashid EchesaCleophas MalalaKakamega CountyMatungu killings