A man believed to be the leader of a gang that killed 12 people in Kitui in 2013 has been arrested in Machakos.
Mr John Kilonzo Musyoka, alias Karunyu, has been on the run since the massacre on July 4, 2013.
On the fateful day, a six-man gang descended on Ndithi and Nyanyaa villages in Waita Division of Mwingi Central District and hacked to death members of three families who were asleep.
Mwingi Central police boss Gerald Barasa on Monday evening told journalists in his office that the dreaded gang leader who has been on the police radar since the deadly attack was arrested in Machakos early January.
“We have been following him and lastly our leads traced him at Emali Town in Makueni County sometimes in November last year,” said Mr Barasa.
But in what turned out to be the end of the most persistent and mind-numbing manhunt of the suspected mastermind of the killings, detectives were last week informed of the whereabouts of the “most wanted criminal”.
ARRESTED IN MACHAKOS
“On January 8, we got information that he was arrested and remanded in Machakos,” he said.
The OCPD said Karunyu, who was apprehended after he allegedly committed a robbery with violence in Machakos, identified himself to the police as Jackson Mutua Kimanthi and was remanded at Machakos GK Prison after he pleaded not guilty to the charge pending the hearing of his case.
Mr Barasa said that at the time of his arrest, the suspect had no identification documents on him.
Police said a group of elders from the village where the suspected serial killer hails from were on Monday ferried to Machakos to help security agencies in identifying him.
“The elders who are believed to know the suspect very well after seeing him today (Monday) at Machakos Prison said he was the one,” Mr Barasa said.
He said Karunyu will be arraigned in Machakos Law Courts adding that he would not be taken to Mwingi where he committed the crime for fear of retaliation from the aggrieved locals.
RELEASED FROM KAMITI
Interestingly, the suspect and his brother, Munyoki Musyoka, who was killed alongside his two children by the gang on the fateful night, had been jailed at Kamiti Maximum Prison for robbery with violence but were freed through a presidential pardon in 2012.
Karunyu, whom the police had declared a dangerous criminal, allegedly led his brigade of criminals in the night raid and mercilessly massacred locals in the remote villages over what was suspected to be a family land dispute.
Two of his accomplices were cornered and brutally slaughtered by the angry residents of the neighbouring Muono Village after they lost their way as they fled from the hilly villages after executing the killings.
A day after the deadly raid, Karunyu’s mother and wife were lynched by an angry mob in their home in retaliation.
Mr Barasa said the suspect will first be taken to a psychiatrist for a mental check-up and also have his finger prints taken before being arraigned in court.