Suspects linked to the murder of six night guards at Kilingili market in Vihiga County on March 3, 2019, attended a cleansing ritual before the attack, detectives have said.
Acting Western Region Criminal Investigations Officer Shem Nyamboki said on Sunday that detectives had established that the suspects were on a revenge mission after their colleague was beaten to death by villagers in the neighbouring Ilungu market.
The gang is said to have met at a secret location for a cleansing ritual administered by an elder. The ritual involved smoking bhang and drinking traditional brews.
Mr Nyamboki said the suspects, who blamed the guards for exposing their criminal activities, planned the attack after the burial of their colleague.
“We have arrested a suspect who sent a text message to his accomplices confirming that the night guards had been killed,” he said.
Seventeen suspects including a Class Seven pupil and a secondary school student, were arraigned in court on Wednesday last week. The prosecution, however, asked for two weeks to complete investigations before the suspects are charged with murder.
The pupil, who was taken to court with a bandage strapped around his head, wore a blood stained white T-shirt. He was arrested along with his elder brother in Emusutswi village.
The pupil pleaded with Kakamega Resident Magistrate William Lopokoyot to release him since he wanted to go back to school.
Mr Nyamboki added: "We are doing everything to build a strong case against the suspects and those found not to have taken part in the attack will be set free.”
Kilingili residents found bodies of four of the guards in different parts of the market on March 3. The fifth guard succumbed to his injuries while receiving treatment in hospital.
All the five, who were guarding shops at Kilingili market, were aged 60 and above.
Leaders and residents have questioned why officers from the Kilingili Police post, just 50 metres away, did not rescue the guards from the gang that later moved to Ilungu market and injured two other guards.