Controversy has surrounded the gruesome murder of a 26-year-old man who was killed in Kiundu area in Nakuru East on Saturday night.
Police and family have given conflicting details on the incident that left John Kihoro dead after an alleged altercation with a matatu tout over Sh100 bus fare.
According to the family, Kihoro was murdered by unknown people minutes after he and his four friends were forcefully ejected from a matatu following the quarrel.
Police claim Kihoro was killed by a mob that captured him as he and his accomplices were attempting to rob a matatu driver and his conductor on the highway.
Antony Maina, a friend of the deceased explained that after merrymaking, they left a local entertainment joint minutes to midnight and headed for the Nairobi-Nakuru highway to catch a matatu home.
“The conductor insisted that we pay first. We complied. Inside the matatu there was an altercation between my friends who were drunk and the conductor over his insistence that we pay first,” said Maina.
He explained that the matatu driver stopped the vehicle after the deceased picked up a fight with the conductor.
“Outside the vehicle, the two wrestled but we separated them with the assistance of the driver. The driver ordered the conductor to refund back the Sh100 and they left us on the highway,” said Maina.
David Gachanja, a cousin to the deceased explained that he hailed a random bodaboda rider who said that he would only carry three of them and the remaining two would have to seek another ride.
“Kihoro and our two friends boarded the bodaboda as we waited for another one that was heading our way. Two other boda-bodas stopped where we were. Their pillion passengers had crude weapons and immediately descended on us,” said Gachanja.
He explained that they all took off in different directions only to later learn that the deceased had been left in the hands of their attackers.
Edith Wanjiru, mother of the deceased explained that her son left their home at around 9:30pm, saying that he was to spend the night at her elder brother’s house.
“After prayers, Kihoro gave me Sh200 and left the house. He assured me that he would be safe as he had company. His reason for moving to his brother’s house was a plan to undertake an early morning job at a yard where they recycle plastics,” said Wanjiru.
While this was the last time to see her son alive, Wanjiru explained that her maternal instincts made her feel that something was amiss but she was unsure of it on Sunday morning.
“I was unable to go to church. I spent the day at home. In the afternoon, my other son called asking me of Kihoro’s whereabouts, leaving me in shock as he had travelled to his place the previous night,” said Wanjiru.
It was around 7pm when her elder son returned home sobbing over what she later established to be her son’s death.
Nakuru East Sub County Police Commander Elena Kabukuru on her part told The Standard that the two were killed by a mob that came to the rescue of the matatu operators.
“The deceased and his friend posed as passengers. When the matatu stopped, several other members of their gang emerged from the darkness and started attacking the conductor and the driver,” said Kabukuru.
She explained that the driver and the conductor raised an alarm, attracting the attention of other residents who rushed to the scene to their rescue.
“The mob managed to catch up with the deceased as his accomplices fled the scene. The deceased was beaten up and set on fire by the mob. The matter is now under investigation,” said Kabukuru.
The family has however disputed the claims saying that their son was innocent and was not part of any gang.
“My son was in the past part of a notorious group. He started distancing himself from them last year and reformed from taking alcohol and other drugs. My son was not a criminal,” said Wanjiru.