Village elders, Nyumba Kumi officials, chiefs and their assistants have been linked to a spate of lynching cases in Matungu, Kakamega County.
At least seven suspects have been lynched in broad daylight in a span of seven days on suspicion that they belonged to the night murder gangs. Up to 20 people have been killed in the recent past in Matungu.
The cases of lynching are believed to be carried out by members of the dreaded 42 and 14 brothers, and lately, the 22-sisters gang, who during the day disguise themselves as "aggrieved wananchi" out to contain the night insecurity.
The Standard established that the lynched were either reformed petty thieves or those in bad books with chiefs or their assistants or Nyumba Kumi officials, or had given out information about the activities of the night gangs, which enjoy protection from grassroots administrators.
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“The dreaded gangs have now changed tact and kill people in broad daylight. Majority of those killed are innocent and once one is suspected, it’s a direct ticket to the grave,” said a local human rights activist.
“Village elders, chiefs and their assistants are to blame for the Matungu killings. Whenever they are given information by the public, they leak it to suspects in exchange for bribes and in turn clear them of any wrong doing.”
David Maasai, 36, from Shikondi village in Koyonzo sub-location was lynched on Sunday and then set ablaze by irate boda boda riders at Lung’anyiro shopping centre at about 2:30pm.
Maasai had been operating a mandazi stall at the shopping centre since February.
According to his elder sister Maximilla Mbuya, Maasai had no criminal record. She wondered why a Nyumba Kumi official, a village elder and a local assistant chief reached the conclusion that he belonged to the night gangs.
On Friday May 3, three suspects were killed at Mayoni and Ejinja village and seven days later, on Friday 10 two other suspects were lynched.
County Commissioner Abdiruzak Jaldesa only absolved the police of similar claims saying their ethics could not allow them to hand over suspects to the public for lynching.