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Leaders call out police as Embu brothers buried

By Muriithi Mugo | August 13th 2021
Benson Njiru and Emmanuel Mutura died on Sunday, August 1, during 10pm-4am curfew enforcement by police. [Muriithi Mugo, Standard]

Calls for action to be taken against police officers believed to have killed two Embu brothers on August 1 dominated speeches during the siblings’ burial on Friday.

Benson Njiru, 22, and Emmanuel Mutura, 19, died on Sunday, August 1, during 10pm-4am curfew enforcement by police.

Leaders from different political divides gathered at the brothers’ parents’ home in Kithangari Village, Embu North Sub-County to condole with the deceased’s family.

Those who attended the burial include National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Members of Parliament Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Muriuki Njagagua (Mbeere North), Cecily Mbarire (Nominated), John Muchiri (Manyatta), Embu Woman Representative Jane Wanjuki, Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi, among others.

As the burial service began, the boys’ mother, Catherine Wanjira, collapsed, but was quickly stabilised and the service continued.

Rigathi Gachagua, who was among the first leaders to speak, said it was unfortunate to lose two promising young men in controversial circumstances.

“It’s unfortunate that the perpetrators are now known and no action has been taken,” he said.

Rigathi Gachagua (in black leather jacket) was among the leaders who attended the Embu brothers' burial. [Muriithi Mugo, Standard]

Gachagua said the Interior ministry’s attempts to ease tension was not enough to grant the boys justice.

“I’m urging the President to ensure he meets these’ boys’ parents and pledge appropriate action.”

Moses Kuria, in his speech, asked police to expedite investigations and bring the boys’ suspected killers to book.

Speaker Justin Muturi alleged that a police vehicle, in which the boys are alleged to have fatally jumped from, was quickly removed from the Manyatta police post so as to “tamper with evidence”.

“The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has performed dismally [in conducting investigations into the boys’ killing]. Parliament approved sufficient funds to the agency. They promised to table results of the probe in one week’s time. That period has elapsed, and they have nothing to show of their said-efforts.

“We won’t keep quiet on this matter. It’s a wake-up call to police and all of us.”

Muturi said all indicators show the boys were murdered.

“The autopsy reports [which revealed the boys died of blunt force trauma] are clear. There’s nothing to support the police officers’ theory that the brothers died after jumping off a moving police van.”

The boys' parents, John Ndwiga and Catherine Wanjira, were overwhelmed by grief. [Muriithi Mugo]

Manyatta MP John Muchiri said the National Police Service needs serious reforms, starting from training to work etiquette.

Embu Woman Representative Jane Wanjuki was forced to cut short her speech after a section of the mourners booed her.

Mbeere North MP Muriuki Njagagua questioned the reason behind transferring Embu North police boss Emily Ngaruiya and Manyatta OCS Abdullahi Yaya, on the back of active investigations into the circumstances surrounding the boys’ deaths.

“We’ll follow the matter to its conclusion through the tools available in Parliament,” he said.

Bishop Paul Kariuki of the Embu Diocese, who presided over the burial service, called for calm as investigations into the boys’ mysterious deaths continued.

The brothers, Njiru and Mutura, were buried in one grave as per family wishes.

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