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We fled to save ourselves, murder suspect from angry mob, policeman tells court

When anti-riot police officers fled from a charged crowd during NASA demonstrations. [File, Standard]

A team of police officers that had escorted a suspect to his house in Eldoret in search of a murder weapon was forced to flee after residents charged at them.

Corporal Ali Osman told the court that the charged crowd was demanding that they release the accused person to them so they could avenge the death of the man he is said to have stabbed to death, a court has been told.

Osman, who is attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Department in Eldoret, narrated before Justice Reuben Nyakundi of how they narrowly escaped death from a hostile mob at Teleview estate on the outskirts of Eldoret town.

The officer said they had the murder suspect, 26-year-old Zacharia Mulati, in their car when they arrived at the estate.

Mulati, a boda boda rider, has been accused of stabbing George Odhiambo to death after they disagreed at a party in 2021.

The officer said the charged crowd surrounded their car and demanded the release of the suspect.

Osman was testifying in the case where Mulati has denied stabbing Odhiambo to death.

He said their mission was to search the suspect's house for the weapon he allegedly used to kill the victim. 

"We were going with the suspect to his house. We wanted him to show us the weapon he used to kill his close friend after they differed during a party. However, the residents we found waiting outside became hostile and tried to snatch the suspect from lawful custody. Their intention was to take the law into their own hands,” said Osman.

He added: "We had no option but to flee for our dear lives and also save the suspect from the angry mob."

The court heard that after the accused person was linked to the murder of his friend who was popularly known in the estate as Odhis, he went into hiding and switched off his mobile phone.

Odhiambo is said to have succumbed to the stab wounds he sustained during the attack.

“It was days later after the accused committed the alleged crime that he surrendered to Langas Police Station claiming he had fought with his friend and killed him accidentally,” said Osman.

Justice Nyakundi directed that the suspect remains in police custody until March 2 when he will know if he has a case to answer.