SECTIONS

Police: 104 suspected witches killed last year in Kilifi

Kaya elders celebrate the election of Charo Nguma (right) as the new chairman of the Youth Committee at Junda in February. The committee leads a campaign against killing of the elderly persons in Coast region. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

KILIFI: Security authorities in Kilifi have disclosed that family members killed 104 elderly relatives in the county last year after accusing them of practising witchcraft.

County Commissioner Joseph Keter said the figure is from cases reported to police and warned the actual murders could be more than 104.

Mr Keter said Wednesday in Kilifi the National Government is alarmed by the homicide involving elders but added that it is difficult to prosecute suspects because family members refuse to cooperate with police.

"We suspect the killing of the aged persons are mostly being planned by close family members because relatives of the deceased sometimes never report the incidences and if they do, they fail to give information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects," said Keter.

NO RELENTING

He said police will not relent in investigating these murders.

"The relatives of the murdered people fail to give us information on who could have killed them and we have now resolved to work closely with the ambassadors of Nyumba Kumi initiative to arrest and prosecute the murderers," said Keter.

Mr Keter said Ganze sub-county recorded the highest number of murders of elderly people with 30 killed last year followed by Chonyi sub-county with 11 killed.

"The records we have indicate Ganze sub-county led with highest number of aged persons who were brutally murdered with 30 cases being reported while Chonyi sub-county followed with 11 cases," said Keter.

The commissioner however noted investigations had shown that the elderly persons getting killed are not witches or wizards.

INTELLIGENCE REPORTS

He said intelligence report had revealed youth target their aged parents and grandparents for murder to inherit their property and land.

"What we have come to learn is that youth in the community target their aged relatives for murder so that they can inherit their land and other property including coconut crops," he said.