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Bomet leaders demand probe into the death of TUM student

Sunday October 27 2019

Mr Pius Rono

Mr Pius Rono, the father of TUM student Caleb Kiplangat who died mysteriously at the Coast last week, speaking during the burial in Kobel village, Konoin Constituency in Bomet County on October 26, 2019. The family called for thorough investigations into the mysterious death. PHOTO | JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT
By JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT
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There was anger and grief as Mr Caleb Kiplangat, a first year student at the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM), who died mysteriously at the Coast last week was buried.

Hundreds of mourners Saturday attended his burial in Kobel village, Konoin Constituency in Bomet County.

Family members and Bomet leaders called for thorough investigations into the mysterious death, accusing the security agencies and the University of laxity in probing it.

BODY FOUND IN OCEAN

Mr Kiplangat had been admitted to the university less than two months ago to study a degree in mechanical engineering but he was not to realise the dream as his body was found floating at Junda Beach on the shores of the Indian Ocean, a few kilometres from the hostel he was staying in.

He had been missing since October 14 and his body was found on October 20.

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His relatives said they have lost a brilliant young man who had a bright future.

He was among the top-performing students at Kericho High School in the 2018 KCSE exam.

He was admitted to TUM early September.

Bomet Woman Rep Joyce Korir

Bomet Woman Rep Joyce Korir speaks during the burial. She asked Interior CS Fred Matiang'i to ensure thorough investigations into Kiplangat's mysterious death. PHOTO | JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

TWO MONTHS

He had barely been in Mombasa for two months when he met his death.

Family spokesman Joshua Rono said it was wrong to claim that Kiplangat could have committed suicide, saying the student had spoken to his mother a few days before he was reported missing and he had not shown any signs of distress.

"We dismiss with contempt the theory and the speculations that Kiplangat committed suicide. This was a boy who had never been suicidal and never lacked anything in his life.

"He called his mother to let her know that the coming December holiday will be brief and hence he did not see the need of coming home. He instead invited her to visit him in Mombasa," said Mr Rono.

POLICE PROBE

Police in Mombasa had said they were looking into various possibilities including strangling, drowning or suicide when the body was found last week.

Bomet leaders said they would demand answers from the university and the security agencies, saying they had not shown any seriousness in investigating Kiplangat’s death.

"This is not going to end with his burial. We are going to demand answers from the university and the Ministry of Education. Our children must be safe wherever they go to study," said Bomet Woman Representative Joyce Korir.

Bomet Senator Christopher Langat

Bomet Senator Christopher Langat addressing mourners attending Kiplangat's burial on October 26, 2019. He questioned why TUM did not send any of its administrators to the burial. PHOTO | JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

NO REPRESENTATIVE

The leaders questioned why the university had not bothered to send any of its administrators to the burial, saying it was a clear indication that they had not taken his death seriously.

"It's a great shame for the university not to accompany the body of the student to this place. I was once a dean of students at Moi University and I always went to the homes of students who died while studying. It's a great shame the university has not bothered to do the same. As a leader in the Senate we will demand answers from this university," said Bomet Senator Christopher Langat who is the Senate Education committee chairman.