A magistrate’s court in Meru has allowed police to detain three suspects linked to the killing of three people in tribal clashes in Manyatta Konso, Marsabit County on Friday last week.
Meru Senior Resident Magistrate Evans Mbicha allowed police to hold Mr Galma Galgallo his son Diid Galma Galgallo and Jarsao Dika Wario at Laisamis Police Station to enable them complete investigations.
They are accused of killing Halima Roba, Galgallo Roba and Dahabo Hussein and injuring scores of other people before they disappeared and were only arrested on Sunday following a manhunt.
The magistrate declined to release the three on bond after the prosecution said they were neighbours of those killed in the clashes and thus could interfere with ongoing investigations.
In his affidavit, investigating officer Ernest Muia had sought custodial orders of 21 days to complete investigations, saying they needed to reach the witnesses.
“The investigating officer is yet to obtain psychiatric report and record more statements from witnesses.
“The suspects escaped after committing the offence and did not bother to know the fate of the deceased. They are a flight risk thus [releasing them] would render investigations nugatory,’’ said Mr Muia.
While opposing bail application, State Counsel James Kinyua said the suspects were brought to Meru Law Courts, some 343 kilometres away, because of tension and hostility currently being experienced in Marsabit.
"The State is protecting the rights of the suspects who were arrested yesterday (Sunday) and brought to court today. Investigations are incomplete and the investigating officer has not recorded statements from all potential prosecution witnesses,” he said.
But the magistrate only allowed the prosecution to hold them for one week and ordered the police to move with speed and complete investigations and compile their report.
Defence lawyer Halakhe Diida protested over the application for detention, arguing that his clients ought to have been arraigned in Marsabit, citing jurisdiction.
NOT FLIGHT RISK
He said the investigating officer had not adduced any evidence that his clients will interfere with prosecution witnesses.
Mr Diida applied to have his clients released on lenient bail terms pending the investigations, saying they are not a flight risk and have fixed abodes.
He said Mr Muia did not disclose any prima facie evidence that the suspects will be charged with the offence of murder.
He said his clients are neighbours of the dead people who sought refuge in their homestead.
Mr Diida asked the court to grant the police seven days instead of the three weeks they were seeking.
The matter will be mentioned on June 4, 2019 to confirm the status of the investigations.