Dark cloud hangs in Kisii as crime, murder and suicide cases escalate

Family members grief at the scene where a man is suspected to have hacked his two daughters to death at Kiobegi in Nyamache, Kisii County. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Two latest reported murder incidents in Kisii and Nyamira have caused an uproar, lifting the lid on organised crime, mental health and suicide. 

A man who beheaded his two daughters in Kisii will know his mental status today as police plan to charge him with murder.

The incident happened at Kiobegi village in Bobasi county on Friday morning. The children are aged three and two.

Nyamache OCPD Kipkulei Kipkemboi confirmed the incident saying the suspect was arrested shortly after committing the crime.

The body of the missing Nyamira teacher was found on January 1, in a house belonging to one of the nurses in the county.

Police have identified the deceased as Ezekiel Nkeere Gitangwa, 47, who was reported missing on December 30, 2022.

He was last seen at Egisieri Village in West Mugirango Constituency in Nyamira County being dropped by a boda boda rider. Police are yet to arrest suspects in the murder incident.

In 2021, police in Kisii recorded a total of 126 people having been murdered in the county over a period of one year.

Nyamache Sub-county recorded the highest number of murders with 18 cases, Kenyenya had 17, Kitutu Central and Masaba South at fifteen each. Kisii South recorded 13, Sameta (11), Kisii Central (10) and Etago (7).

By late December last year, 72 were pending in various courts, while 44 were being investigated. Police were still pursuing at least 10 suspects in relation to some of the murders.

At least 12 people are facing murder charges where four elderly women were lynched in October 2021 on suspicion of practising witchcraft. The case is still at the hearings stage at Kisii Law courts under Justice Rose Ougo.

Ezekiel Nkeere Gitangwa. He was found dead on January 1. [File, Standard]

Pastor Peter Morwabe of Gospel Embassy Church Kisii said the community needs more counsellors and psychologists. “The church should also aggressively address the issues of witchcraft not as a myth but as a reality in our area. We appeal to the government to support caregivers and village counsellors as they work on ways of elevating the living standards of the residents.”

Nominated Senator Essy Okenyuri said all forms of violence against children should never be tolerated in society. “Such outrageous and inhuman action against innocent children is a gross violation of the right to human life as enshrined in the Constitution.”

She said children are the future of the nation and that they must be protected and nurtured. “I urge the community and family members to be on high alert and report early warning signals by reporting and seeking help from professional counsellors, religious leaders and other relevant organizations to forestall such eventualities.”

Another issue that is worrying is the increase in suicide cases in Kisii and Nyamira counties.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) data, Kisii is ranked third after Murang'a and Kiambu as leading counties in suicide cases.

Police lead away suspects alleged to have gouged out Baby Sagini's eyes in Ikuruma, Marani, Kisii County. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Recently, a man known as Kefa Mobisa from Ibacho, Nyaribari Masaba in Kisii county dug a grave inside his house on August 24, 2022. Mobisa set his house on fire and threatened to hang himself following months of distress over an overdue loan.

Dr Mary Njuguna, a consultant psychiatrist at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital (KTRH) argues that a lack of socialisation is to blame for the rise in suicide cases in the county.

A counsellor, Oyugi Nyamache said the media should help society deal with mental health. “Social media like the mainstream media should focus on educating the masses on mental health and how to deal with depression.”