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Another athlete dies in Iten after fight over lover

Rift Valley
 The Rwandan athlete, Rubayita Sirag, died of injuries he sustained during the fight with his Kenyan counterpart. [iStockphoto]

Iten is reeling in shock once again following the alleged killing of another athlete in a suspected love triangle.

Two athletes, a Rwandese and a Kenyan, are reported to have fought on Thursday last week, leading to the death of the foreign track runner on Friday evening. According to reports, the two male athletes fought over a woman.

Police in the tiny town, which has become one of the world’s favourite training destinations for Kenyans and foreigners, on Sunday reported that the Rwandan athlete identified as Rubayita Sirag, 34, died of injuries he sustained during the fight with his Kenyan counterpart. Sirag specialises in 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres.

The Rwandan athlete's demise is the third, involving sports personalities in Iten since 2021.

Track and country star Agnes Tirop was killed in October 2021.

This was before Kenya-born Bahraini athlete Damaris Muthee was found dead in April last year, all the killings happening in the same town.

Keiyo North Police Commander Tom Makori said they were still investigating the circumstances under which the two athletes fought, and the exact cause of the foreigner’s death.

The commander said preliminary investigations point to a love triangle but noted that a probe into the matter was not conclusive.

He said the suspect and the woman suspected to be the cause of the fight were being held at Iten Police Station for interrogation.

“The suspect has been arrested. He will be arraigned in court as soon as we conclude investigations. The exact cause of death will be revealed after investigations,” Makori said.

“The matter was reported to the police by a coach in one of the training camps in Iten, who told us that the two athletes fought.”

Barbershop

He said the deceased had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after the attack.

A coach in Iten who has known the two athletes for months said the sportsmen had not had a quarrel. The coach identified the Kenyan athlete as Dancan Khamala, a sprinter who also runs a barber shop in Iten.

He also works as a gym instructor, the coach said.

“We were informed on Thursday evening that the two athletes fought over a woman. The Kenyan athlete told us that he had married the woman and that the Rwandan national was his wife’s ex-boyfriend. That is the information we have. We hope the police will do a thorough investigation,” the coach said.

According to a recorded conversation between the suspect and another Iten-based coach, Khamala said he had lived with the woman for two months.

Khamala told the coach that his fiancée had dumped the Rwandese athlete before she moved in to live with him.

“The woman in question is my wife. She was previously in a relationship with the Rwandan athlete but dumped him for two months. On Thursday, the foreigner came and peeped into my barber shop and left. I didn’t know what he was looking for,” the suspect told the coach moments after his arrest on Saturday.

During the fight, Khamala narrated, they both fell in a trench. He said he was unconscious.

“I discovered the Rwandan athlete was bleeding from the ears. We were all taken to Iten County Referral Hospital," said Khamala.

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