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Matungu killings: Police seek to detain four politicians

Sunday May 19 2019

Matungu killings

Residents of Matungu village in Kakamega on May 6, 2019 mourn the death of a family believed to have been killed by gang called 14 Brothers. Police are planning to seek custodial orders to detain four politicians as they finalise investigations into the killings. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NATION TEAM
By NATION TEAM
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Police are planning to seek custodial orders to detain four politicians as they finalise investigations into the killing of villagers by criminal gangs in Matungu, Kakamega County.

Detectives have forwarded files on the killings in Matungu to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) as they prepare to arraign the politicians in court on Monday.

KILLINGS

Former Sports and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and Mayoni Ward Representative Libinus Oduori were arrested on Friday for questioning.

Matungu MP Justus Murunga, who presented himself to the police in Kakamega, was later moved to Kisii Police Station according to acting Western DCI Shem Nyamboki.

Mr Murunga had been given six hours to report to the nearest police station.

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Detectives investigating the killings said Mr Echesa, who was transferred to Nandi-Hills Police Station, had declined to record a statement on the issue.

Western Police Commander Rashid Mohammed told the Nation that files related to the investigation on the Matungu killings had been forwarded to the ODPP for further directions.

SUSPECTS

“At the moment, I’m not in a position to respond since the matter is before the ODPP. We will be in a position to confirm the next course of the Matungu issue by Monday morning,” said Mr Mohammed.

But Mr Nyamboki disclosed that the suspects could face more charges in connection to activities of criminal gangs that have left more than 20 people dead and scores of others injured in the past one month.

Police turned away some relatives and colleagues of the seized politicians who had gone to visit them at the various police stations where they were being held.

Shirere Ward Representative David Ikunza said he was not allowed to see Mr Oduori who is being held at the Kakamega Police Station.

“Police officers told me they were under firm not to allow anyone to see Mr Oduori. I have been forced to leave without seeing him,” said Mr Ikunza.

HARASSMENT

On Sunday, a section of Nandi leaders led by Senator Samson Cherargei visited Mr Echesa at the Nandi Hills Police Station where they held talks with police boss David Nyabuto for over two hours.

Mr Cherargei and some ward reps termed Mr Echesa’s arrest as political harassment due to his support for Deputy President William Ruto.

“As much as we do not support the killings and harassment of innocent people by criminal gangs, we urge police to carry out independent investigations without involving differences among the political class on the fight against corruption,” said Mr Cherargei.

They petitioned Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai to hasten the release of Mr Echesa and other suspects arrested over the killings.

SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE

“The investigation team should either prefer charges against the former CS if they have sufficient evidence or set him free,” said Mr Cherargei.

According to police sources, the former CS is expected to appear at the High Court either in Kisumu or Eldoret.

Dr Matiang’i, who was accompanied by Mr  Muyambai visited Matungu last week and ordered an operation by the General Service Unit to flush out the criminals.

He blamed politicians for using young men in a political contest to prove their might in the region.

Reports by Benson Amadala, Tom Matoke and Barnabas Bii. 

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