Man kills children, house help in bizarre attack

Naomi Chepkoech Chumo with two of her children Lewis Kipngeno (left) and Moses Kibet. Kipngeno was hacked to death. Kibet survived. [Gilbert Kimutai]

A village in Silibwet, Bomet County, is in shock after a man went on the rampage and hacked three children and a house help to death on Friday night.

The 47-year-old suspect is said to have arrived home, taken a panga and slashed his two children, a relative’s child and the house help, killing them on the spot. It was not immediately clear what triggered the attack. 

Bomet Central deputy police commander Ali Bashir said the victims were the man’s two-year-old daughter, 16-year-old son, a secondary school student, an eight-year-old niece and 16-year-old house help.

Police said the report they got was that the man arrived home, and without talking to anyone, took a panga and attacked his victims. His son is said to have attempted to flee but the man, who had run wild, caught up with him and killed him.

Reports indicated that the incident happened soon after the man had visited his wife at her shop at Silibwet trading centre.

“We received the report of the attack around 8pm. When we arrived at the scene, the suspect was nowhere to be seen,” Ali said.

Bashir said officers rushed to the scene and identified the victims as Lewis Kipngeno (16), Lulu Cheruto (2), Abigael Cherono (8) who is a niece to the suspect, and their 16-year-old house help identified only as Cherono.

The bodies of his victims lay in pools of blood when the police arrived at the home.

Bashir said, after processing the scene, police moved bodies to Longisa Hospital awaiting postmortem.

He said all the bodies had multiple deep cuts on the head and neck.

The police boss said the whereabouts of the suspect had not been established but officers were pursuing critical leads to arrest him.

“We will ensure he is arrested and charged with the crimes,” he said even as many feared that if left free, the suspect could cause more harm. 

He added: “We have not been able to establish the motive of the killings but we have launched investigations. We are also keen to know what happened.”

He decried the increasing cases of attacks and killings within families. “This seems to be the new way people are settling differences at the family level. It is worrying. It is not good to kill someone no matter the conflict.”

“Bomet has been recording many cases where people have attacked and killed others because of conflicts. We are concerned. We appeal to residents to give dialogue a chance. Any conflict can be resolved. Instead of fighting, let people talk,” Ali said.

Beatrice Rono said she was the first to arrive at the homestead. “I found the family’s eldest son who survived the attack trying to take his young brother to hospital. He was bleeding and writhing in pain.”

Ms Rono said a motorcycle rider who was passing by offered to help take them to hospital.

She said as she went to the kitchen she stumbled on the bodies of the house help and that of the suspect‘s niece, who had visited.

Rono, a neighbour, said she raised the alarm as she sought the help of other neighbours.

“I was scared. I went back to the gate and met other neighbours who had been attracted by my screams,” she said yesterday.

She added: “We searched the house and stumbled on the body of the two-year-old girl who had been killed and left lying on the bed. This is very shocking. We have never seen anything like this before.”

All this time, more neighbours were streaming into the homestead and they alerted the police.

Residents called on the police to speed up investigations in the matter and bring the culprit to book.