Chief arrested for failing to protect suspected chicken thief

From right: Reuben Smith Shitambachi, Evans Ashimundu, Agapitus Ingosi and Francis Muse Lichesa who were accused of  lynching a suspected chicken thief in Khayega arraigned in Kakamega court. [Duncan Ocholla/Standard]
Police in Kakamega are holding a chief who failed to protect a chicken thief who was butchered by an attacker at Khayega market.

The chief is among 26 suspects arrested for failing to act in an incident where the suspected chicken thief was cut into pieces live.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i condemned the attack and ordered for the arrest of the chief over negligence.

Dr Matiang'i said the incident occurred in close proximity within the chief’s office yet the officer failed to take appropriate action.

In a press statement sent to newsrooms on Monday, the CS wondered why the incident had earlier been reported as a case of mob justice.

A video recording of the attacker cutting the deceased into pieces using a panga in full glare of the public went viral prompting Dr Matiang'i to act.

Four more suspects were arrested in connection with the July 12 incident that left netizens in shock.

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Francis Muse Lisecho alias President Moi, Lisecho Agapitus Ingosi, Evans Ashimudu and Reuben Shitambachi were alledged to have attacked the deceased at Khayega market for allegedly stealing a car battery, two chicken and a charcoal jiko.

In the disturbing video, one attacker believed to be the prime suspect, Lisecho, is seen slashing the deceased despite pleas from onlookers to spare the victim.

“It has been established that through various acts of commission and collusion, the incident was falsely reported as a case of mob injustice. However, the shocking video showed a helpless man being hacked to death as villagers around him watched,” read the statement.

The CS confirmed that the alleged murderer and the owner of the crude weapons used alongside other bystanders have been arrested.

“The chief was in close proximity of the scene of crime and failed to take any administrative action. The victim of the incident has not been identified but his fingerprints have been taken for forensic examination and identification,” said Matiang’i.

When they were arraigned, they did not take plea after the investigating officer sought for 15 days to conclude their probe.

Police Constable Athman Ali told the court that the suspects are yet to undergo the mandatory mental assessment tests as well as recording statements from the key eye witnesses.

He told Kakamega Senior Principal Magistrate Hazel Wandere that they are yet to conduct a post mortem test for the deceased to establish the actual cause of death and ascertain his identity saying the fingerprints have been submitted to the National Registration Bureau.

The deceased is said to have been a notorious thief and had stolen the items from Lisecho.

The documents tendered in court indicate that the deceased was in the company of another person who was arrested while trying to sell the battery at a nearby mechanic shop.

He was rescued by officers from Shinyalu Police Station who were patrolling the area but the deceased was accosted at his house with the chicken.

Aggrieved with the theft, assaulted the deceased jointly with his co-suspects and others not before court, they attacked the deceased with machetes.

“The suspects were arrested on July 28 after the police traced the first suspect captured in the video cutting the deceased while a crowd is cheering him. We are yet to trace eye witnesses and thus we pray that the court may grant us 15 days to conclude the investigations,” said PC Athmani.

He maintained that if released, the four are likely to interfere with witnesses and the evidence already gathered.

The magistrate noted that the matter was of high public interest and that the suspoects are likely to abscond court attendance if released.

“I have considered the application by the investigating officer together with the supporting affidavit. I am inclined to allow the same and direct that the four be remanded at Shinyalu Police Station awaiting the conclusion of the innvestigations,” said Ms Wandere.

The matter will be mentioned on August 13.

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Suspected chicken thiefKhayega market