A 65-year-old man surprised a magistrate’s court sitting in Siaya when he decided to forgive and withdraw the case against a man who he'd accused of assaulting him.
The man is accused of stealing Sh138,000 and leaving him wounded.
Mr James Ogola, a retired civil servant and a telecommunications engineer was heading home when three men attacked him and stole his money and other vital documents.
He told the court, presided over by Siaya magistrate Lester Simiyu, that he knew his three attackers who were armed and the suspect identified as Collins Onyango was among them.
“I am a retired civil servant. Currently I run a small business consisting of an Mpesa shop and an outlet for solar lamps in Siaya town. On January 4, I closed down and was heading home as usual when three men armed with crude weapons attacked me,” said Mr Ogola, when he testified in court with stitches of wounds he sustained from the ordeal.
He went on, “However, I plead with the court on his behalf to forgive him just as I have forgiven him. He is a young man and going to prison will hurt him more. I want him to reform and follow the right path of life. Crime will not help him.”
When the Magistrate asked whether he was coerced to withdraw the case, he responded that his faith compelled him to.
“I was born in 1958. For all those years nobody has taken me to court nor have I testified against anyone in court. I want to live a peaceful life, I also want the suspect and other attackers who are not in court to learn from this and reform,” he added.
Other than Sh138,000, Mr Ogola lost an ATM cards, identification cards and driving license to the complainant.
Prosecutor has objected
The prosecutor, however, objected to the move and requested for time to review the case and make submissions before the court rules on whether to withdraw the case or not.
Crimes have been on the rise in major towns within the last two weeks.
On January 17, a body of a middle-aged man was discovered early in the morning by members of the public in Uranga town with visible physical injuries.
The deceased identified as David Otieno is believed to have met his death after he was attacked by unknown people.
The most affected areas include Siaya town, Gem, Ugunja and parts of Asembo sub-counties where cases of attacks have been reported.
On January 14, a famous artist Alvaro Ochieng was attacked by a gang of four armed men who raided his home demanding money he had allegedly been paid after performing for President William Ruto, who had graced a homecoming ceremony of the ICT boss Eliud Owalo.
“They raided my home at Ongielo village in Rarieda sub-county at 10pm in the night demanding money which I did not have. When they failed to get what they came for, they took my four years old son and went away,” said the distraught artist.
Mr Ochieng was the guest artist at the ceremony that was attended by the head of state as well as other senior government officials.
The child would later be found the following day abandoned inside some thickets. The matter was reported at Asembo Bay Police station.
In Bondo sub-county, there is a syndicate that terrorizes residents at night using motorcycles.
Mr Hillary Owino, a businessman in Bondo town, lost Sh120, 000 in his shop after a gang of three attacked him when he was about to close business.
“I thought they were customers. They found me serving the last female customer who was buying fruits when they demanded cash, threatening to slash me with a panga. One of them got into the shop and collected all the money and they disappeared into the dark. I reported the matter to the police the following day,” said Mr Owino.
In Siaya town, the axe and machete wielding gangs target businessmen and individuals at night.
The trend has pushed businessmen to close down businesses early enough in order to avoid encountering them.
Ms Seline Awino told Nation of the horrifying tales she underwent in the hands of the gang that nabbed her after alighting from a matatu a few minutes to 10pm.
“After alighting, I took a rough road towards my place when a boda boda approached me, inquiring if I would need his services. He had a pillion passenger with him. Within seconds, they pushed me to the ground, and they were speeding away with my handbag. I shouted for help, however, it was late. By the time people came out, they had disappeared,” she narrated.
Siaya sub-county Commander Benedict Mwangangi said the security officers are on duty patrolling every night, however, he noted that some cases are not reported.