Drama ensued in Chuka town in Tharaka Nithi County on Saturday after a mob barricaded Meru-Nairobi Highway using stones and a casket containing a body.
The residents of Nkwego village were demanding the arrest of Daniel Mutembei’s killers.
They claimed he was beaten up by known people and left for dead by a road last month. He was pronounced dead at the Chuka County Referral Hospital the following morning.
No suspect has been arrested.
After picking up the body from that hospital’s mortuary, Mutembei’s relatives and the other villagers demonstrated along the highway before, blocking it near Godka Hotel and causing a traffic jam.
Mr Mbuba Njeru, Mutembei’s cousin, alleged that five people well known to him attacked him with crude weapons as he headed home at night. He said they dumped him by the road with serious injuries.
“Mutembei gave us the names of the five people who attacked him. Some of them are his relatives, well known to everybody in the village,” said Mr Njeru.
He said that after reporting the matter to Chuka Police Station, the five went to a Chuka court and sought anticipatory bail to avoid being arrested.
They are now threatening to kill any person demanding their arrest and charges for murder, he added.
Police officers from that station cleared the road and forced the protesters to pick up the casket but they went on and barricaded the road again at the centre of Chuka town, insisting they would only bury it upon the arrest of the five suspects.
Eventually, after police negotiated with the villagers, they agreed to take the body to the mortuary and await further investigations.
According to the postmortem report, Mutembei died from head, chest and stomach injuries but he also been strangled.
Later on Saturday, unconfirmed eports indicated that a boda boda operator was shot dead by police in Chuka town during the demonstrations that lasted hours.
Via Twitter, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said "high-level investigative teams" were sent to Chuka town on Saturday night to carry out the probe.