Court acquits seven suspects charged with murder of 42 police officers in Baragoi
Patrick Kibet Rono
| Sep 22nd 2017 | 2 min read
It was relief for seven people charged in connection with brutal killing of 42 police officers and reservists in an ambush in Lomerok hills in Baragoi, Samburu County in 2012.
In landmark decision, Justice Maureen Odero indicted the state for failing to link the seven, who included Nachola ward representative, former chiefs, former assistant chiefs and police reservists, to the murder of the officers in brazen attack which shocked the police service.
The lack of clear evidence handed freedom to Sebastian Lorunyei, MCA Nachola ward, Christoper Lokarach, Losike Ewoi, Amojong Loruto Sammy, Jeremiah Ekurao, Loomwa Looyen and Ekai Loyee.
In the case the seven were charged with the murder of 28 police officers who were on a security operation to recover stolen cattle in Suguta Valley in November 10, 2012.
After numerous adjournments, the murder trial kicked off two years later after the incident, on July 20, 2015 with 13 witnesses lined up by the state to support its murder charges against the seven.
The Court in its decision held that the state only hounded the seven to court without any evidence linking them to the murder of police officers since they were leaders of Turkana Community.
“The seven accused were only arrested because they held positions in leadership in the local Turkana community. There is no direct and/or circumstantial evidence linking any of the 7 accused to this offense. They were simply charged as scapegoats because the real culprits could not be trace,” Justice Odero held.
As the seven left the court with smiles, questions over failures by the prosecution to call relatives of the police officers who identified the bodies and the commanders who oversaw the operations remained unanswered.
“The prosecution is basically asking court to take their word that 12 men, 12 officers, bearing names and force numbers corresponding to those listed in the charge sheet actually died in Suguta Valley on November 10, 2012,” Justice Odero pondered.
The court dismantled the prosecution’s case for its failure to not only link the seven to the death of police officers but also fabricating evidence against the accused persons in a desperate move to bolster its weak case.
“I find that no prima facie case has been established against any if the seven accused persons. I enter verdict of “Not Guilty” and I acquit each accused of 12 charges of murder. Each accused person is to be set at liberty forthwith unless otherwise lawfully held,” she ruled.
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