Chief among 26 people arrested over killing of suspected chicken thief

Man taped killing chicken thief suspect in Kakamega amrket. He was identified as Francis Muse. [Courtesy]

At least 26 suspects were at the weekend arrested in connection with mob lynching of a suspected chicken thief in Khayega, Kakamega County.

Those arrested include a man caught on camera slashing to death the suspect and an acting chief in the area.

Four of the suspects were on Monday presented in court and detained for 15-days to allow probe completion.

One of the suspects was caught on camera slashing the suspect to death using a machete at a shopping centre in the area.

They are set to face murder charges in connection with the incident.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i condemned the incident terming it heinous and outrageous murder.

“It has now been established that through various acts of commission, omission and collusion, the incident was falsely reported to police as a case of mob injustice,” said Matiang’i.

He added those arrested include the acting Chief of the area, suspected murderer, the owner of the crude weapon used in the murder, as well as individuals who stood by and watched the merciless act unfold without taking any action.

“The area chief was in very close proximity of the scene of crime and failed to take any administrative action. Seven suspects have already appeared before Kakamega High Court,” he said.

The CS said the victim of the incident has not been identified and that his fingerprints have been taken for forensic analysis and identification.

He said they are gravely concerned with what seems to be a regular occurrence of violent crime with impunity in the area.

An operation has been launched in the area to flush out criminals behind the trend until all those responsible for conducting or abetting the reprehensible acts face the full force of the law.

“We, therefore, urge residents not to take the law into their own hands but to report criminal activity of any shape or form to the nearest police station or post without fear of recrimination, as no one is above the law.”

“Citizens stand reminded that only a court of law has the authority to adjudicate someone’s guilt or innocence,” he added.

DCI George Kinoti said mob injustice is murder.

“Nothing like mob injustice. They murdered and let those who are engaged in such incidents know their time is coming,” said Kinoti.

Police tracked and arrested the suspects after a video of the incident went viral showing the slain man pleading with his assailant to spare him.

According to preliminary findings, the suspect had allegedly stolen two chickens from a homestead in the area on July 12 when an alarm was raised.

This alerted a mob who chased him and started to attack him with stones and sticks.

It was when one of the assailants emerged and slashed the suspect killing him.

A spectator who took a video of the incident and shared the same on social media.

 A special team was sent to the area to investigate the incidents of mob injustice and take necessary action.