There was chaos on Saturday morning in Nyahera, Kisumu County after police lobbed tear gas canisters as they sought to carry away the body of a 13-year-old girl who was found brutally murdered in a suspected ritual killing.
Angry residents had protested and resisted an earlier attempt by the police to carry away the mutilated body of the Class Seven girl who is alleged to have disappeared at 1pm on Friday, shortly after delivering drinking water to her mother who was tilling her land a few meters from their home.
Residents suspected her murder is part of a ritual killing, citing seven other cases in which they claimed girls aged between eight and 14 years are targeted.
The angry residents had protested that police have not resolved past cases.
Ms Martha Auma, the girl’s mother, said she got alarmed at 6pm when she returned home only to find that her daughter, Tabitha Akinyi, had not returned.
“When I came back home, her siblings told me they had not seen her and thought she was helping me in the farm,” she said.
She immediately informed the chief who initiated a search around the village.
“I could not sleep at night and spent most of my time outside my house hoping she would come back,” said the tearful mother.
She woke up at 5.30am in the morning and went to check if Akinyi had decided to sleep at her friend’s home in the neighbouring village.
“However, on my way back, my heart sank when I heard some people wailing next to my home,” she said.
She dashed to the scene where she found the badly mutilated body of her second born child lying by the roadside, 200 meters from their house.
The body of Akinyi, a Standard Seven pupil at Ogada Primary School, was discovered by a passer-by who raised the alarm.
It is believed that the girl, who was strangled and had injuries on her face, was killed elsewhere and her body dumped at the scene where it was found.
For over six hours, hundreds of residents prevented the police from collecting the body as they complained over the rise similar incidents.
“This is now the eighth [such] killing since 2010,” said Mrs Grace Onyango who called on the police to urgently investigate the mysterious murders.
“We have had enough of this and we will not allow our innocent children to be butchered like animals. There is no need for the police to carry the body since they have so many unresolved cases pending,” said Mr Charles Otieno.
He termed the killings as unusual as the perpetrators only target girls aged eight to 14 years.
“This is [probably] some kind of ritual which must be busted by law enforcement agencies before we take the matter into our own hands,” he said.
Police officers who arrived at the scene were forced to get backup to repulse the villagers who thronged the scene.
Kisumu County Police Commander Ranson Rolmodooni assured the residents that his officers will get to the bottom of the matter and ensure all those involved are arrested.
The body of girl was taken to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital mortuary to await post-mortem.