Police warn locals over rising cases of lynching by mobs

Kakamega residents rough up a man suspected to be a phone snatcher. [File, Standard]

A man last Monday met his death after residents of Kiamworia village in Gatundu South descended on him on suspicion that the stranger only identified as Juma was a thief.

Juma allegedly strayed into the homestead of Kung'u Gathiringa at around 2pm when an alarm was raised. Villagers responded by raining blows and kicks on the victim. Police later picked the body and took it to Gatundu Level Five Hospital mortuary.

Juma’s case brings to four, the number of recently reported mob-instigated deaths.

Ten days before Juma's incident, two other men were killed in the same manner at Karagwi village in the same sub-location of Kiamworia.

Peter Mbotho, 36, and his 30-year-old friend Gichia Mukami were stoned to death after they were found in possession of a hen belonging to a local identified as David Njoroge.

Officers from Gitare Police Post who were informed of the incident by area assistant chief George Nene rushed to the scene only to find the bodies of the two youthful men by the roadside. The bodies were later taken to Kigumo Level Four Hospital mortuary.

On October 4, another young man from Mutati sub-location also met his death after succumbing to injuries at Gatundu Level Five Hospital where he had been rushed. 

According to the area assistant chief Fidelis Wanja, the victim was killed after he was found in possession of arrow roots, sodas and mitumba clothes believed to have been stolen.

Avert further deaths

The actions have elicited mixed reactions from residents who are now calling on the government to arrest the situation to avert further deaths.

Counselling psychologist Dr Susan Gitau blamed the incidents on lack of sustainable strategies to solve conflicts, alcohol and drug abuse. Pent up anger, she said, could also be a pointer to such behaviours.

“I don't support stealing but I advocate for justice for everyone. Anyone who has committed a crime should be taken to the police and the law should take its course,” noted Dr Gitau.

Gatundu South Sub County Deputy Commissioner Stanley Kamande termed the actions by locals as unlawful insisting that the existing channels of solving conflicts should be embraced by all locals.

“It’s unfortunate that the residents have become lynch mobs rather than arresting the suspects,” regretted Kamande.

The administrator has promised to hold a public baraza in the affected location to hear their grievances and also sensitise them on the need to adhere to available channels of airing their grievances.