Police in Tigania West, Meru County, are holding a 42-year-old woman from Mweonkanga Village who allegedly killed her seven-year-old son following a paternity row with her husband.
Ms Kagwiria Kimathi is said to have struck her son Mugambi on the forehead with a stool as he lay on a bed inside their timber hut on Tuesday evening.
Early responders were alarmed to hear screams from the home, only to find the lifeless body of the Class One pupil, with blood oozing from his nose and mouth.
According to Mweonkanga Assistant Chief Samuel Igweta, the family has been having a longstanding tussle over the paternity of the child and the couple had on several occasions sought guidance from his office.
The chief said the row escalated after the woman fled home for close to a year, leaving her husband, Kimathi Lairumbi, to take care of three other children. The woman later returned with a new-born baby.
“Villagers talked to the man and he agreed to accept them and they started living together again. I have intervened on various occasions after they came to me. The child has been at the centre of the conflict with the man claiming that he is not the biological father, an allegation that has never been verified.
Strain in the family
“We have tried to help them but most of the time, the woman usually flees with the child leading to a further strain in the family. The man claims that his wife usually sleeps out and even accuses her of engaging in extra-marital sex,” said Mr Igweta.
Mr Igweta said that immediately after killing the boy, the mother fled and attempted to kill herself about a kilometre away but she was restrained.
Afterwards, she was led to her house where an angry mob that had gathered roughed her up but police from Ngundune kept them at bay.
The boy’s aunt, Ms Elizabeth Kanyata, said that on the material day, Mugambi’s mother had visited her home to ask for flour to cook porridge for him.
She said the woman would at times dump the child at her home for even a week and disappear to unknown places.
“They have been having constant squabbles. I am in shock since I have served as the boy’s minder for long,” said Ms Kanyata.
Mr Moses Murithi, a neighbour who was the first person to respond, said they heard cries and found the body of the child lying in a pool of blood.
“The woman looks like she is mentally disturbed and at times comes to seek shelter in my home after being beaten up by her husband who has been saying that the child is not his. Last week, he battered her, saying he would kill the woman,” he recounted.