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Four women arrested after death of alleged husband batterer

Rift Valley
 [iStock graphic]

A group of women from the Maasai community may have overstretched their cultural liberties after their alleged administering of communal punishment on a woman for beating her husband turned to murder.

Police in Narok Wednesday arrested four women they link to the death of Ann Kingasunye whom they allegedly whipped for allegedly going against what they term as community values.

The four are suspected of leading and participating in mob justice that saw Kingasunye, 48, bundled out of her house in Oloirien village in Narok South on the morning of October 1, 2022.

Narok South Sub County Police Commander Isaac Omare says the suspects in the company of others who are being sought frog-matched Kingasunye to the scene, a kilometre away where she was walloped.

"The matter was reported to us by Mr Joseph Tiyo and has been under investigation. We have today arrested four suspects who are assisting us to catch their accomplices," said Omare.

According to police, over 10 women are said to have stormed Kingasunye's home on the dawn of October 1 in the full glare of her children, most of them minors, who helplessly watched as she was led out of the compound.

Police say women are said to have taken the law into their own hands following accusations of her violent attacks on her husband Mike Musekenya, 68 days earlier which they considered embarrassing.

"The suspects claim that Ms Kingasunye's character was a disgrace to the community. They whipped her in an open field near her home and took her back to her house at around 4pm," alleged Omare.

A neighbour who visited the home the following morning established that her health condition was worsening from the brutal beating she had received from her fellow community women.

"The neighbour, who had learnt of the incident, assisted her to get to a hospital six kilometres from her house. She was, however, pronounced dead on arrival," said the police boss.

The commander said that the events leading to Kingasunye's death were not being considered a cultural practice and that the suspects would be charged with murder.

 The couple had a history of violence. [iStock graphic]

"There is nothing like culture in this as they claim. We all operate under the same law. This was a murder which we shall charge them for once we conclude our investigations," he said.

Omare said that the husband was yet to record a statement with the police over the matter and had not reported the alleged occasions when his late wife is said to have battered him to the police.

"We hope he will report his story but regardless of that, we shall still prefer criminal charges on the suspects. Whether they sympathised with the elderly man, murder is a capital offence," he said.

Ololulunga Chief Leseiyo Ntutu said that domestic violence between the couple was not new and had been handled locally with both parties being victims of each other's violence at different times.

"I started handling their case in 2018 and 2020 when the wife would report incidents of her husband beating her. The husband stopped the habit after we sat him down with elders," said Ntutu.

The administrator said that he was shocked in 2021 when the couple reversed their roles in the violence which left the husband with severe injuries.

"The woman started beating the man who today has three major injuries on his head inflicted by the wife. Local women punished her for a recent assault on him which he had not reported," alleged Chief Ntutu.

Chief Ntutu explained that the punishment was part of the Maa culture which had, however, never gone to the extreme edge where the suspects have found themselves in.

"It is common for women to whip their fellow women who are found to be in breach of certain Maasai cultures (sic). This was an isolated incident where the woman is now dead," said Ntutu.

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