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Nakuru families: Police executed our four young men

From left, brothers Kevin Kipyegon, 20, and 22-year-old Dennis Kipchirchir, Collins Kipkorir, 21, and Collins Kirui, 16. [File, Standard]

Families of the four young men killed in Nakuru have denied that they were members of a criminal gang.

Speaking on Tuesday during a postmortem, the relatives claimed the four were executed.

Collins Kirui, 16, Collins Kipkorir, 21, and brothers Kevin Kipyegon, 20, and 22-year-old Dennis Kipchirchir were shot dead on Friday in Barut estate. 

Police yesterday insisted they four were members of Nyuki Squad, a criminal gang that has been terrorising residents.

“I understand the pain of a parent. The moment you lose a child, you will always want to justify their innocence. But fact still remains that our intelligence was solid and the four are indeed members of Nyuki Squad,” said Nakuru County Police Commander Peter Mwanzo.

He said security officers will continue conducting several operations to weed out criminals in the area.

According to Nicholas Koech, Kirui’s brother, the deceased was picked from his parent’s home.

“The officers came to the home, called Kirui by name and ordered him out of bed. The officers further ordered the other two boys to go back to sleep,” he claimed.

The deceased sat his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination recently but did not proceed to secondary school.

Samuel Cheruiyot, the father of Kipkorir, claimed he was woken up by noises of people breaking the door into his son’s house on Thursday night.

“They picked him and went to a nearby home, where Kipyegon and Kipchirchir lived,” said Mr Cheruiyot.

“I encountered people with guns but in civilian clothes. They ordered me back to the house, but I hid behind the house from where I saw them arresting my son.”

He said they all left on motorbikes and went to a nearby home. Minutes later he heard gunshots.

“The next morning, I found out that my son was among those shot dead,” said Mr Cheruiyot.

But according to police, the four confronted police officers on patrol.

“Officers spotted some young men loitering in the streets. The gang attacked them thinking they were members of the public because they were in civilian clothes. They called for reinforcement from other gang members. Police opened fire after they ignored several warning shots,” said Mr Mwanzo

He said the officers recovered two spent cartridges and several weapons including arrows, a bow and a machete. They also discovered a bhang garden, SIM cards and several phones.

According to the postmortem, the four died from multiple gunshot wounds, shot from close range. One of the victims had had five bullet wounds and the rest were shot twice.

Photos from the scene showed the bodies of Kirui and Kipkorir lying a pool of blood inside the house while those of Kipyegon and Kipchirchir were outside.

Their relatives have denied police reports that the four had a gun, saying they should have been arrested.

Mr Cheruiyot said the family was overwhelmed since they had buried his wife two days earlier. “Even the tents used during the funeral hadn’t been removed. It is so unfortunate that I have to bury my son days after burying his mother,” he said.

According to Hope Cherop, his brothers Kipyegon and Kipchirchir had been living together for a while.

She claimed the brothers had no history of criminal activities. “My brothers were quarry workers. When business was bad, they would call me for financial assistance.”

Several human rights groups have termed the killings extra-judicial.

“We have handed over two bullets recovered from the bodies to IPOA (Independent Policing Oversight Authority). We call upon the Inspector-General of Police Hillary Muyambai to deploy officers from outside the county to investigate this matter,” said David Kuria, a human rights activist in Nakuru.