Isiolo gender activist and peace ambassador Elizabeth Ibrahim, who was stabbed to death at Kambi Garba in Isiolo on January 3, 2022, during a past interview with Nation.Africa in Isiolo town.


| Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media Group

Police look beyond land dispute in Isiolo activist’s murder probe

What you need to know:

  • The activist was killed in cold blood while attending the burial of a relative in Kambi Garba on Monday.
  • The killing took place near the spot where Elizabeth Ibrahim's husband and son were killed 11 years ago.

Police in Isiolo are exploring the possibility that land dispute was not the sole motive behind the brutal killing of peace ambassador and gender activist Elizabeth Ibrahim.

The activist was killed in cold blood while attending the burial of a relative in Kambi Garba on Monday.

The killing took place near the spot her husband Romano Losike and her son, Saica Romano, were killed 11 years ago in clashes between two communities that claimed more than 10 lives. 

Detectives have over the past two days been piecing together evidence to establish what transpired before a 45-year-old suspect stabbed the woman several times, killing her on the spot.

Reports indicate the suspect called the activist from the burial and the two walked away while chatting, only for him to turn on her.

Isiolo Sub-County Police Commander George Kariuki said preliminary investigations had shown that the suspect and the activist had land boundary issues, but were involved in other deals that could have gone sour, leading to the killing.

The police boss said they were yet to establish the location of the land in question, though residents claimed it is in the area where the crime occurred.

“There could be other issues behind the killing and that is what we are exploring,” Mr Kariuki told the Nation.

Security agencies are also exploring the likelihood of accomplices in the killing and the possibility that the suspect had been sent by someone who had a grudge against the activist.

Expedite investigations

Her body had three visible stab wounds – on the head, on the right-hand elbow and the left thigh.

Mr Kariuki said the suspect, who was badly injured by an angry crowd and had been admitted to Isiolo Referral Hospital, had been discharged and was being held at Isiolo Police Station.

The Nation was informed that detectives would arraign the suspect and seek more time to detain him pending completion of investigations.

After losing her husband and her Form Four son in October 2011, Ms Ibrahim relocated to Kambi ya Juu on the outskirts of Isiolo town with her remaining four children. She also brought along three orphans that she had been supporting.

Elizabeth was in 2007 awarded a Head of State Commendation by former President Mwai Kibaki due to her exemplary contribution to peacebuilding.

As burial preparations continued, relatives called on the security agencies to expedite investigations and ensure justice is served.

Elizabeth’s brother-in-law Mose Iyomo said they had left the matter to the police and were keen on laying their loved one to rest.

“We are mourning the death of a great woman who was a pillar in the family,” he told journalists at his home.

Clerics, activists and community leaders on Tuesday condemned the killing and demanded that all the culprits be brought to book.

Gender-based violence

Isiolo Interfaith Network Chair Ahmed Sett celebrated Elizabeth as a hardworking woman who had community interests at heart and a grassroots mobiliser who prioritised peace.

“Our people should use peaceful ways to solve their differences. They should use elders and legal channels and avoid taking the law into their hands,” Mr Sett said.

Gender activist and education champion Lucy Mworia said cases of gender-based violence against women were on the rise in the region and called on the authorities to address the issue.

She said the killing would have been prevented had the land dispute been solved in good time. She accused the county government of dragging its feet over land grabbing and double allocation issues, which are rampant in the county.

“We are petitioning President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and help address land disputes in Isiolo,” she said.

Women leaders Consolata Lomilio and Grace Lolim appealed to well-wishers and leaders to assist the bereaved family.

Ms Lomilio said violence against women must be condemned and stopped.

“We cannot remain silent. We appeal to women organisations and other bodies to intervene and ensure the suspect and accomplices are severely dealt with for causing immense suffering to the family,” the Isiolo Voice of Women Network chairperson said.

Ms Lolim said land registration should be fast-tracked to ensure residents get title deeds.

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