tortured Kericho youth

Ms Lilian Mibei (left), Stanly Koech, Hellen Laboso and Brian Kiptoo (standing) family members of the two youths allegedly tortured by two police officers in Kericho County on Monday over alleged theft of beehives. 

| Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Family in Kericho demands justice for tortured, murdered kin

A family in Kericho County is demanding justice after police officers allegedly tortured to death their relative and seriously injured another over alleged theft of beehives.

Two officers – who have been identified as cousins, one the bodyguard of a top politician in the county and the other whose station has not been established – have been accused of taking part in the murder.

The incident occurred on Monday afternoon at the boundary of Chemugusu and Mangwein villages near Brooke trading centre in Ainamoi constituency.

The beehives were allegedly stolen from the home of the politician’s bodyguard. 

It is alleged that the two officers hunted down Leonard Kipyegon Ngeno and Emmanuel Kiprotich – who are also cousins and neighbours of the two officers – for the alleged theft.

“Ngeno was picked up at Brooke while Kiprotich was arrested at a construction site at Brooke Day Secondary School,” Mr Stanley Koech, the father of Kiprotich, told Nation.Africa on Wednesday.

It is alleged that the officers went to the school at around 2pm and asked Kiprotich to accompany them.

Officers drove off

“The officers grabbed (Kiprotich) by his trousers and bundled him into a waiting saloon car, where he found his cousin Ngeno,” said Mrs Lily Mibei, an aunt of the victims.

Mrs Mibei said the officers drove off and three hours later, villagers found the youth, who had been tortured, in a bush near the Araktat River.

“Unfortunately, Ng’eno died before he could be taken to hospital for treatment,” said Mrs Mibei.

Officers from the Chagaik Police Station took charge of the scene of the incident with dusk fast approaching.

It took about an hour for the police in the company of villagers to find Kiprotich, who had staggered into the river and was trying to sip water to save his life.

“Kiprotich kept asking for Ngeno’s health status as he had suffered more serious injuries at the hands of the police officers. It is very clear that they were dumped after being tortured,” said an elderly woman, who was among the first to arrive at the scene.

Relatives revealed that Ngeno was the firstborn in a family of five. His mother Beatrice Laboso died in 2013 after an illness, while his father David Ngeno is a peasant farmer.

The 27-year-old, a Standard Eight dropout, was a casual labourer and had been living with his grandmother, Mrs Hellen Laboso, in Mangwein village (where the incident occurred), which is a few metres from the home of the police officer attached to a senior politician and that of his alleged accomplice.

The body is lying at the Kericho County Referral Hospital mortuary.

Meanwhile, Kiprotich was rushed to Kericho Referral, treated and discharged.

But he was taken back to the hospital on Wednesday morning by relatives when his condition worsened.

Mr Silas Gichunge, Kericho County police commander, had on Tuesday deflected inquiries from the media on the incident, saying no report had been made at any of the stations in the area.

“We do not have such an incident reported in our stations. We will keep you posted if something breaks,” said Mr Gichunge at his office when reporters went to seek comment from him as the information started filtering out.

Mr John Onyango, the county criminal investigations officer, told reporters that the matter was under investigation and crucial leads had been obtained by investigators.

“We have obtained the registration number of the vehicle that was used to transport the victims. The survivor (Kiprotich) has revealed that they were tortured by people known to them,” Mr Onyango said.

Villagers revealed that one of the officers left the area on Monday morning saying he was returning to his workstation in Kitui County, after spending the New Year holidays at home.

The officer attached to a senior politician is said to have disappeared from home immediately after the incident but was spotted on Wednesday morning at his home.

The family has made a passionate appeal to Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti.

“We are from a very humble background, with no means to pursue the case, leave alone paying for the burial of our relative whose life was snuffed out at a very tender age,” said Mrs Laboso, the victim’s grandmother.

Relatives and mourners converged at the home of the uncle of the victims in the nearby Kapcheptoror village, where their grandmother was taken for care after the shocking news was broken to her.

“We thought it wise as a family to temporarily hold the meetings here so as to defuse tension at Mangwein village. It is a very trying moment for us and we are appealing for support from all well-wishers,” said Mr Brian Kiptoo, a cousin of the victims.


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