Detective, government chemist seek to link man to activist's murder

Human rights defender Elizabeth Ekaru who was murdered in Isiolo County in 2022 following a land dispute. [File, Standard]

A government chemist and a police officer have linked a man to the murder of a human rights activist, Elizabeth Ekaru, who was stabbed to death at Kambi Garba in Isiolo County in 2022.

Patrick Naweet has been accused of stabbing Ekaru to death on January 3 following a dispute over a piece of land they had both laid claim on.

Government Chemist Benard Kipng’etich told Justice Edward Murithi, of the High Court Judge in Meru, that he conducted DNA tests that linked Naweet to the victim's murder.

On the other hand, the investigating officer Mr Kubai Mungania, said their probe had squarely placed the suspect at the centre of the woman's murder.

Kipng’etich and Mungania were the tenth and eleventh prosecution witnesses brought before the court by the prosecution, led by Principal Prosecution Counsel Eric Masila.

Mungania told the court that the victim was walking home, after attending a burial, when Naweet attacked her.

He said their investigations had established that the suspect lured the deceased to a piece of land they had been fighting for where he stabbed her to death.

"I was able to establish that the victim had attended a burial on the fateful day. While walking home in the company of her niece, a minor, the suspect called Elizabeth. They walked together towards a disputed land,” Mungania said.

When a dagger that was allegedly used in the murder of human rights crusader Elizabeth Ekaru at Kambi Garba in Isiolo County on January 3, 2022, was presented before the court. [File, Standard]

He said Ms Ekaru asked the young girl to go away as they spoke. However, after walking a distance of 50 metres, the girl heard Ekaru scream for help.

“The niece rushed back to the scene. She saw the suspect holding the weapon (a dagger) with blood on it. The deceased was lying down soaked in blood," Mungania said.

The court heard that people responded to Ekaru's cry for help and caught up with Naweet, who attempted to run away with the murder weapon in his hand.

After they caught him, the mob stoned Naweet who was rescued as sought to avenge Ekaru’s death.

Another witness, Kambi Garba Senior Assistant Chief Habiba Hassan, had told the court that she was among those who rescued Naweet from the mob that was baying for his blood.

Mungania, who collected various items belonging to the suspect and the victim for DNA analysis, said Ekaru had multiple stab wounds.

“The deceased was stabbed on the back, rib, left thigh, hand, palm and left chin,” he said.

The officer said he also collected body tissues for DNA analysis. Others were hair, cloth and fingernail clippings.

"I dispatched them to the Government Chemist in Nairobi on January 14, 022 for DNA analysis," Mungania said.

Kipng’etich, a DNA expert who told Justice Murithi that he had ten years of experience in the profession, said he conducted testing from bloodstains in a shoe belonging to Naweet, a dagger, a scarf, nail clippings and hair.

“The dagger, leso (scarf) and the dress were heavily stained with human blood,” Kipng’etich said.

He said he generated DNA profiles from the bloodstains of both the suspect and the victim.

“The DNA profile generated from bloodstains for the show, a Safari boot, and the dagger matched both DNA profiles generated for nail clippings from Ekaru and those for the suspect,” he said.

Ekaru's family is represented by lawyer Zaina Kombo while the suspect's lawyer Hillary Sandi

Justice Murithi set October 12 as the date for submissions.