A woman from Rangwe sub-county, Homa Bay County, is seeking police protection after villagers threatened to kill her over suspicions that she might have been involved in the murder of her friend on New Year’s Day.
The woman had to be whisked away to the Omoya police post for safety on Tuesday afternoon after a meeting convened by East Kochia Location Chief Salome Obop turned chaotic, with irate villagers threatening to kill the suspect.
Angry residents later went to the suspect's homestead and burned down four houses.
Residents were retaliating for an incident where a widow from the village was murdered under unclear circumstances.
Rose Adhiambo Oima was killed on January 1. Her body was discovered the following day in a maize plantation a few metres from her house.
This caused tension in the village as residents wanted to know who killed her.
The woman whose houses were burned was accused of being the main suspect. She is said to have been a close friend of Oima and is suspected to have hired criminals to kill her.
Convened a baraza
Residents demanded that she record a statement regarding the death.
Administrators had to convene a meeting to reduce the rising tension. Ms Obop convened a baraza on Tuesday afternoon to talk to residents.
The woman accused of murder also attended the meeting. But when she was given a chance to speak, villagers became wild.
"She was given a chance to defend herself against the allegations but the crowd became wild and began hurling stones at her," Ms Obop said.
The suspect had to be taken to safety.
As the woman was being rescued, the irate mob went to her home and set ablaze four houses belonging to her and her father in-law. Property in the houses was also destroyed.
Ms Obop said the value of what was lost was yet to be determined.
There was tension in the village on Wednesday as residents bayed for the woman’s blood.
Ms Obop warned residents against taking the law into their own hands.
“Residents should use proper ways of dealing with such cases. We do not encourage mob justice," she said.
Police were investigating the matter.