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Three missing Nakuru brothers found dead

RIFT VALLEY
By Mercy Kahenda and Julius Chepwkony | February 2nd 2017
The photos of 3 brothers from left Paul Mutunga, Paul Mwai Ndirangu and Daniel Ikenya who were found dead at Kamei Forest in Thika. PHOTO BY KIPASNG JOSEPH

When the embers of fires stoked by a disputed election in 2007 died, two families in Molo were among thousands left homeless across the country.

This was the darkest hour for the families of Manasseh Ndirangu Gachagua and Beatrice Wanjiku, and by extension the country.

They thought nothing could match this. But they were wrong. A decade later, another tragedy struck. And like the first one, this one has also taken place in an election year.

On January 18, 2017, siblings Daniel Ikenya Ndirangu, 31, Mwai Ndirangu, 24, and Paul Mutunga Ndirangu, 32, left their home in Barnabas on the outskirts of Nakuru town to register as voters.

They were joined by a friend from Pipeline Estate, 26-year-old Francis Kariuki, Wanjiku's son. That was the last time the four were seen alive.

Their bodies would be found two weeks later, hundreds of kilometres away in Kamei Forest, Thika, Kiambu County.

Relatives who identified them said the bodies had deep cuts on the head, the eyes were gouged out and the hands were tied. Matching bracelets the brothers wore were a stark reminder of the deep bond they shared.

Daniel and Mwai were matatu operators while Paul and Kariuki were casual labourers. Daniel was excited at the prospect of becoming a father as his wife, Abigael Chepkorir, a student nurse at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital, is due to deliver anytime.

But he will never know what it feels to hold his baby and the yet-to-be born child has been rendered fatherless even before it comes into this man-eat-man society.

Too shocked to comprehend what was happening, all Abigael could mumble was how loving and caring her husband was. The couple married in 2014.

"We had bought everything in readiness for the baby's birth and we were just waiting for the big day," she said.

Lucy Wambui, Mwai's wife, works in Dubai and has not been informed about her husband's death. He was living with their four-year-old daughter in Nakuru.

"Wambui kept in touch regularly for news about the missing men. But now we are yet to give her the sad news," said David Njenga, a brother of the three siblings.

Mutunga's wife, Lucy Gathoni, was too overwhelmed by grief to speak. The couple has two children aged 14 and 12 years.

"My in-laws cannot speak because of the shock following their husbands' mysterious deaths," said Mr Njenga.

Kariuki's aunt, Teresia Njeri, told The Standard that her nephew's death was a big blow to the family. She said Kariuki was the sole breadwinner for his single ailing mother and his siblings.

TV STATION

Njenga said he learned about the deaths on Tuesday, when a local TV station aired a story about the discovery of four bodies by people fetching firewood in the forest.

"I immediately suspected it was my brothers and their friend," he said.

The family travelled to City Mortuary in Nairobi yesterday morning, when their fears were confirmed.

"We rushed to the mortuary after hearing the news and identified the bodies, which had deep cuts all over," said Njenga.

The boys' father, received the news with shock. Their mother, Mary Ndirangu, has been hit hard and the family is now afraid her health might be affected considering she is recovering from a stroke and has high blood pressure.

Mary, who has three other sons and two daughters, could only utter a few words. She wondered why her sons' killers had to take all of them.

"Why couldn't they leave me with even one?" she wondered.

Her husband said he had reported his sons missing at Mwariki Police Post. But the matter was booked in the Occurrence Book as item number 16 on January 21, 2017, three days after his initial report.

He regretted that even after furnishing the police with the phone numbers of callers demanding a ransom, they were reluctant to help.

He said officers at Nakuru's Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) office sent him away, accusing him of interfering with investigations.

One text message from strangers claiming to be holding his sons came on January 25. The criminals were demanding a ransom of Sh500,000.

The message read in part: "We are the ones who kidnapped your sons and if you fail to send the money, we shall kill them."

MUNGIKI SECT

Another message was sent to Gachagua, warning that the family would receive their sons' bodies in pieces. The sender said kidnappers belonged to the outlawed Mungiki sect.

Gachagua said he forwarded the messages to the DCI offices but detectives were slow to act. He said he had no idea what led to his sons' agonising deaths or who was responsible for their murders.

"The Inspector General should ensure that the criminals are brought to book," he said.

Contacted for comment, Nakuru DCIO Jeremiah Musyoki said detectives had been investigating the incident since it was first reported.

"Police officers have intensified investigations to arrest any suspects in this crime," he said.

According to him, the criminals were last traced by detectives to Salgaa before their mobile phones went off last Friday.

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