By Standard Reporter
KIRINYAGA; KENYA: A guard at a private primary school in Kirinyaga County was brutally murdered as he attempted to defend his employer from a gang of kidnappers.
Mr James Muriithi was struck in the head with an axe as the abductors kidnapped Mr Cyrus Munene Wamwenje.
Afterwards the abductors called the family demanding a Sh2 million ransom.
The abductors killed the guard as he made frantic efforts to shield Mwenje, the proprietor of Kerugoya Municipality Primary School, a top private institution in the county.
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One of Mwenje’s sons, Isaac Kariuki, who was in the company of his father was also seriously injured after he was hit on the head with a club by one of the attackers during the 9pm incident.
According to acting Kirinyaga County Police Commander John Kamau, the kidnappers are believed to have waited for Mwenje in a banana plantation near the school compound for sometime before climbing over the institution’s perimetre fence.
The commander further said the criminals could have been monitoring the 70-year-old man for some time since they appear to have had adequate information on the time he was to return to the school, which is also his home.
“The kidnappers appeared from the shadows of the school fence when the saw Mwenje driving into the compound and ordered him to surrender money and his car keys while the other gang members grabbed him from the driver’s seat and captured him,” he said.
The gang, Kamau added, also demanded the keys of the Toyota RAV4 he was driving and when the guard tried to intervene he was he was struck in the head. The guard was pronounced dead at the Kerugoya Level Four Hospital.
The gang later drove to Kiouragari village in Mwea where they abandoned the car after learning that police were on their trail.
Kamau also said that police had crucial leads on the whereabouts of the gang.
“So far we have been tracking down the gang using a mobile phone they are using to demand for the hefty ransom from the family but they are switching off the phone immediately after communicating with the family to avoid being detected,” Kamau said.
He is confident however, that police will eventually arrest the gangsters and bring them to book.
Since the beginning of this year scores of people have been kidnapped in Kirinyaga County but nobody has been arrested over the abductions.
Mwenje’s daughter Ms Grace Wambui said the kidnappers called her mother to demand the ransom and she pleaded with them not to harm her sickly father.
“My father is sickly and the situation he is now in is likely to make his health condition worse, “she said.
The mother is in shock and was unable to talk to journalists who visited the institution Tuesday.
By the time of going to press the Central Regional Police Commander Mr Larry Kieng and Kamau were still in a closed door meeting at the former’s Kerugoya office.