Mystery killings of Nakuru sex workers evoke fears serial killer could be on the prowl

Sunday January 24 2016

Ms Daisy Achieng, a representative of commercial sex workers addresses journalists when hundreds of women stormed Bondeni Police Station in Nkauru on January 17, 2016 following the killing of one of them. Police on February 22, 2016 arrested a suspect linked to the killings. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ms Daisy Achieng, a representative of commercial sex workers addresses journalists when hundreds of women stormed Bondeni Police Station in Nkauru on January 17, 2016 following the killing of one of them. Police on February 22, 2016 arrested a suspect linked to the killings. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ERIC MATARA
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Commercial sex workers in Nakuru Town have deserted Gusii Road, one of their most favourite spots, following a spate of killings targeting them with fears that a serial killer could be on the loose.

Two of the killings happened along the street.

The killings have puzzled many including security agents, who are unable to explain the motive behind the cold blooded murders.

At least ten women have been mysteriously killed in a span of eight months, all within Nakuru Town.

Three of the victims had parts of their bodies removed, including eyes, facial skin and private parts, raising questions about the motives of the murders.

“We are deeply concerned by what is happening. It appears a serial killer is on the loose and is trading in body parts,” a representative of the sex workers Ms Daisy Achieng told Nation.co.ke.

“Who is killing my colleagues?” posed Ms Achieng, her mind clearly very unsettled.

Bodies of three of her colleagues were found in a dark alley adjacent to Nakuru’s famous Kanu Street a few months ago.

Ms Achieng places the number of sex workers in Nakuru Town at around 4,000, but that cannot be independently confirmed.

LIVELIHOODS THREATENED

She says with the mysterious killings, their lives and livelihoods, including their dependants are now under a ‘grave threat.’

The latest victim was 17-year-old Maureen Wanjiru alias Wahu.

Colleagues say she joined the trade some three months ago.

Ms Wahu met her death barely a week after another sex worker, Ms Grace Wangari was found dead in a hotel room along Gusii Road.

Ms Wangari’s body was found with blood stains on her clothes, indicating that she may have been stabbed to death by her assailant.

She was buried in Molo on Friday last week, the same day that Wahu was killed.

Others who have met their deaths in a similar manner include Ms Milliam Wangui, Ms Jane Waithera, Ms Eunice Njeri and Ms Naomi Ngina.

In 2015 the mutilated body of Ms Milliam Wangui, a mother of six, was found dumped on the roadside along Kanu Street.

Two of her colleagues, Ms Eunice Njeri and Ms Naomi Ngina were also found murdered along Kanu Street.

Some residents suspect ritual killings, even as security agents piece together evidence that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of culprits.

SUSPECT ARRESTED

Last weekend, police on patrol arrested the first suspect in connection with the murders, a 32-year-old tuk tuk operator who was found ferrying the body of one of the sex workers at Freehold in Nakuru Town.

The man, Mr Aston Wachira, who has since been charged with murder at the Nakuru High Court is linked by the police to the killings, which have left residents in shock.

Sources, however, say Wachira and the victim were known to each other.

It is alleged that they had previously stayed together before the deceased took off with everything in their house to become a sex worker.

Police have termed the man a key suspect who may help in apprehending other suspects in connection to the killings.

At the same time, three MPs from the region have urged members of the Nakuru County Assembly to enact a law to protect commercial sex workers following the increased threats.

Mr Samuel Arama (Nakuru West), Mr David Gikaria (Nakuru East) and Mr Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati) have vowed to push for the enactment of the laws.

LEGALISE SEX WORK

Mr Gikaria has also promised to table in the National Assembly a Bill pushing for legalisation of the age-old trade.

“As a community, we must accept that prostitutes are here to stay, and I urge the MCAs to pass laws to protect them against those killing them,” said Mr Arama.

Mr Arama cited India and other countries where commercial sex workers have designated areas to operate from, urging Kenya to follow suit.

According to Mr Gikaria, most of the murder cases happen because the business is conducted in secrecy, exposing the sex workers to danger.

“If it is legalised, the cases of murdered commercial sex workers will come to an end since their clients will always meet them in a safe place,” Mr Gikaria said in an interview with Nation.co.ke

Lobby groups in the region have also condemned the killings and urged police to conduct a thorough probe with a view to arresting the perpetrators.

“Sex workers are our sisters and our mothers and we should not discriminate against them. Whoever the killers are they should be arrested and charged with murder,” Mr David Kuria the director of the Nakuru Human Rights Network said.