Families seek justice for four killed by mob

Fredrick Mureithi Wanjiru, Victor Mwangi Wanjiru, Mike George Onduso, Nicholus Kyengo Musa

From left: Fredrick Mureithi Wanjiru, Victor Mwangi Wanjiru, Mike George Onduso and Nicholus Kyengo Musa who were murdered in Kitengela, Kajiado County.

Photo credit: Pool

The families of four young men who were killed by a mob on August 8 in Kitengela EmKamuriaki village, Isinya sub-county, are seeking justice, disputing claims that their loved ones were criminals.

Two brothers, Victor Mwangi Wanjiru,25, and Fredrick Mureithi Wanjiru,30, alongside their friends Mike George Onduso, 29, and Nicholas Kyengo Musa, 28, were murdered by villagers and their mutilated bodies dumped near Munjiriri River. The four, three of them spotting dreadlocks, were good friends who mostly hang out together over the weekend.

The four were reportedly lynched at night over suspicion of being livestock thieves and their three motorcycles torched along with their personal documents. The bodies were picked by police officers and ferried to City Mortuary that very night where they were booked as “unknown”.

The wreckages of their three high-end motorcycles were taken to Kitengela Police Station.

On Thursday, autopsies were done on the four bodies at City Mortuary after they were identified by relatives.When the Sunday Nation visited the relatives of Mr Mwangi and Mr Mureithi at their Syokimau home, they were still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.

The two used to live in a palatial four-bedroom house. Their mother, Ms Lucy Wanjiru, lives in United Kingdom and had left the home in their custody. They were her only children.

Relatives told the Sunday Nation that she was so shocked by news of the deaths that she was hospitalised.

Sound engineer

According to the brother’s uncle Mr Joseph Macharia Mureithi, Mr Mwangi was a graphic designer while his younger brother was a sound engineer.

In Mureithi’s upstairs bedroom, there were a number of sound system gadgets that he was probably working on before he left home while in his brother’s room, there were illustrations in various stages of completion. In the compound, several sports motorcycles were parked.

"My nephews were honest young men with a promising future. They were working and their mother supported them financially. My young nephew was in-charge of the ongoing construction project next to their house. They loved speed motorcycles and some time they could party at the weekend. It is normal for young people," said Mr Macharia.

He said the two and their friends were murdered on flimsy grounds and asked the police to carry out investigation. The family has since moved the bodies to Kenyatta University Funeral Home awaiting the burial planned for Friday next week in Nyandarua County.

"The perpetrators of the heinous crime must be brought to book. My sister has no children now. Someone must have hatched the conspiracy to eliminate them. It is too painful for the entire family," he added.

At the same time, the family of Mr Patrick Musa Kyengo is mourning their third born son Mr Musa, who was an employee of Mr Oduso — another victim of the killings. According to his father, an employee of Nairobi City County, he lost his only son.

The dejected father said he learnt of his son's death through social media, which made the pain even worse. He described him as a law abiding citizen who lived in a rental house in Mlolongo.

"He was my only son. Lately, he was working in a tattoo shop in Nairobi and we used to meet often. Whenever he had financial problems, he could always come to me for assistance,” he said, adding that the family had not started burial plans.  The sense of loss was similar at the home of Mr Oduso, who operated a tattoo parlour along Nairobi’s Tom Mboya Street but lived in Syokimau.

His cousin, Mr Daniel Kyalo, said the father of four lived an honest life and he was the one who had hosted his friends in his sister's home before they all met their deaths in the hands of villagers. He was fondly referred to as “Rasta” in the neighbourhood because of his dreadlocks.

"Rasta used to keep an eye over his sister’s home where he had hosted his friends on the fateful night. He liked tattoos and that’s how he earned his living. He was murdered at his the prime of his life," he told the Sunday Nation.

Yesterday, there was tension in the village where the killings took place as detectives combed the area searching for clues.

Strangers in the village are receiving a cold reception with no one willing to talk about the incident despite news of several overnight crisis meetings convened by elders.

Livestock thieves

However, some accounts suggest that there could have been an altercation between the “merrymaking” group and a local resident, who later came back with other villagers and attacked the four young men using spears and other crude weapons. They later claimed those killed were livestock thieves.

"Villagers cornered the four at dusk. There were more than 15 private vehicles at the scene. They were killed by people known to them. The four are known by the villagers. The victims cried for mercy from their tormentors to no avail," said a villager, adding that a civilian gun owner at one point shot in the air to disperse the villagers before police arrived but it was too late.

Police officers arrived at about 11pm to collect the bodies when the assailants had already concealed evidence and left. It is not clear who alerted the police officers. A detective privy to the investigations said they have profiled the main suspects.

"We have already identified main suspects. Some are brothers. We have also identified a civilian gun holder who shot in the air to disperse the crowd. Individuals will face the law, “he said.

Isinya sub county police commander Charles Chepkong'a said investigations into the matter are underway.

"Our detectives have hit the ground and we are following a very close lead that will unearth the mystery surrounding the killings,” said Mr Chepkong'a