Irate residents raid police station, stone suspected livestock thief to death

Crime scene

The angry villagers stormed the police station and allegedly stoned the suspect to death.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • Pleading for mercy, the livestock theft suspect named some other suspects.
  • Hundreds of residents overpowered police officers at Githabai Police Station.

Irate residents of Nyandarua on Saturday night stormed Githabai Police Station in Kinangop Constituency and snatched a criminal suspect from the police before stoning him to death, as overpowered police officers watched.

Pleading for mercy, the livestock theft suspect named some other suspects, including some police officers, including a senior police officer in Kinangop Constituency.

He revealed that the stolen livestock and meat were transported in a police vehicle, a revelation that ended months of a dilemma as to why the more than 300 dairy cows stolen starting December last year have never been recovered.

Hundreds of the residents overpowered police officers at Githabai Police Station where the suspect was been held, destroyed some property, and also damaged the office of the Assistant County Commissioner neighbouring the police station.

The protesters also blocked the road, demanding the arrest of police officers involved in livestock theft, adding that some known officers own butcheries and bars in the area.

During the 10 pm incident, the police officers closed the gates to the station, threatened to shoot the resident who remained defiant, broke down the gates and the doors where the suspect was been held, walked with him to the gate where they attacked him with stones and other crude weapons.

Nyandarua Farmers Mega Association chairperson Kahuni Chege told the Nation that more than 300 dairy cows have been stolen Since December, with more than 70 cases reported in the last two weeks.

“Our members are suffering, the livestock thefts are reported every night, and they target pregnant cows with less than two months to give birth. all the cases are reported to the police but no arrests are made.

We have members who have lost up to five dairy cows in a night, without a trace. In one incident, some stolen cows were slaughtered in an expansive farm belonging to Kenyatta’s family. This explains that the thugs are from within, they know the best escape routes and where it’s safe to slaughter the stolen animal,” said Mr Kahuni.

The suspect identified as John Kariuki from Gwa Kairu Village was arrested by the members of the community on Saturday evening following a theft incident on Friday evening.

Determined to end the menace, the local youths under the guidance of the village elders mounted a search, tracing the cow’s movement until it was discovered that it was in the suspect’s house.

“They secretly took some photos of the cow with the suspect, and alerted the police and other residents, but police arrived to rescue and take the suspect to the station. He had already sold the cow by the time the village scouts mobilised the residents.

Fearing for her life and that of her children, the suspect's wife spilled the beans, produced the cow’s sale agreement between her husband and the buyer, and a rope that initially tethered the cow at the owners’ compound before it was stolen. When cornered, the suspect revealed that the cow was sold to a police officer,” said a resident James Nyaga.

Ms Peninnah Wainaina, the owner of the cows recognised the cow in the photo as hers and confirmed that the rope produced by the suspect's wife was hers, and it was the same that she had used to tether her cow before it was stolen.

The farmer says she left the cow in her compound on Friday morning to attend a burial but the cow was missing when she arrived back home in the evening.

“I thought my son who was to feed the cow had gone to graze, but he arrived shortly after asking where the cow was. He told me he found the cow missing when went to feed it. We enquired from our neighbours and spread the information. On Friday, the village elders summoned me, produced a photo of the cow with the suspect and I confirmed it was mine,” said Ms Peninah.

She said that they found the cow missing when she arrived at the suspect's home with the elders, and, as they were arresting him, police officers arrived and took him away.

“I also joined the police officers at the station to record my statement but as we were discussing, I heard a commotion outside the police station, the residents were trying to access the police station demanding the suspect be handed over to them.

The officers sneaked the suspect into a separate room, locked it, and also locked the gates but the residents overpowered them crashed the gate, snatched the suspect, and attacked him outside the police station, it was during the attack by the mob that he pleaded for mercy revealing other suspects,” said Ms Peninah.

Nyandarua County Commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa confirmed the incident, terming it as unfortunate that the members of the public overreacted.

“I have visited the scene, but the Assistant County Commissioner in charge of the area had calmed the situation by the time I arrived, he did a good job and the situation is now calm. The suspect was arrested in connection to the livestock theft, I do not know why the members of the public overreacted but we are investigating. Some names of suspects given to us are also under investigation,” said the county commissioner.

He said the police previously arrested two suspects in connection to the livestock theft incidents which have persisted.

Mr Jaldesa said the county security team will be in Kinangop Constituency next Tuesday to find a lasting solution to the thefts.

The county commissioner Sunday morning told the Nation that the body of the suspect was taken to Nyayo Ward Hospital Mortuary as investigations continue.