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Kiambu family seeks justice after kin dies in a police cell

By Fidelis Kabunyi | November 6th 2021

A family in Githiga, Githunguri, Kiambu County is seeking justice following the death of their kin in a police cell.

John Thiga, 24, was arrested and booked at Githiga Police Post on Thursday after being involved in a road accident with a matatu plying the Githiga-Limuru route. 

The deceased’s aunt Mary Wairimu said they received a call on Thursday night from an officer from the station asking them to go to the post, but did not manage because it was almost midnight.

On Friday morning when they when to the police post where Thiga was booked, they were given the shocking news of his death by the OCS.

"I was in the company of my husband when we went to the station, but the officer told us he committed suicide and that his body had been moved to the morgue without disclosing which morgue," she said.

The family is reading foul play after police moved the body to a morgue without informing them.

"We still don’t understand how his body was transferred without the family being informed," she paused.

According to Wairimu, Thiga and the driver resolved the matter at the scene after he accidentally hit the matatu with a motorbike, destroying the windscreen and headlights.

“They agreed with the driver of the matatu that with the help of his employer, he will pay for the repair of the damaged parts of the vehicle,” said Wairimu.

However, at around 5pm, Thiga was arrested at the carwash where he works in Githiga town by five police officers accompanied by the area chief and booked at Githiga Police Post.

At the post, Thiga is said to have met the driver of the matatu only identified as Gikonyo who insisted that he needed to be compensated immediately.

Grace Ng’ang’a, her employer together with another colleague went to check on him at around 6pm since he had taken too long to return but were told he was in the cell. 

At 6:30pm a few friends of Thiga returned to the station but were shocked to find DCI officers and a beehive of activities at the station.

At this time, they were informed that Thiga had committed suicide with an apron he had.

Thiga's grandmother Mary Wanjiku, 60, who lived with him until his death described him as a hardworking young man.

"We live with Thiga, just a few meters from this post, we have rented a single room he takes care of me," she said.

 "He was arrested in my presence, I thought he would come back. The family has lost a polite and quiet guy,” said Ng’ang’a.

Githunguri Director of Criminal investigations Michael Kimilu has said the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) have launched investigations into the death of the man.

Kimilu, however, said that preliminary reports indicate that Thiga committed suicide.

He said the body was transferred to Mukoe Funeral Home in Githunguri and that a post-mortem will be conducted.

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