The director of public prosecutions (DPP) has ordered a public inquest on the killing of three people suspected to have kidnapped a lawyer in Murang'a County in March.
Thomas Gatigi Ndungu, Douglas Okari and Simon Muchoki were killed at Mathioya River along Murang-Sagana road over the kidnapping of lawyer Charles Mbugua.
Officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations accused the three of abducting Mr Mbugua from his home area at around 8:30 pm on March 3.
In court on Friday, however, the relatives of the three men said they were not criminals and that they worked for an auctioneering firm.
They claimed they went after the lawyer as he failed to pay a debt within a stipulated time.
Mr Ndungu's brother, Paul Kariuki, claimed the lawyer owed his brother's firm Sh1.2 million. He identified the firm as Mwangi Auctioneers Company.
"We are optimistic that the inquest will reveal the truth of the matter and that the murderers will be brought to book," he said.
The then Muranga East DCIO, Japheth Maingi, told the Nation after the killing of the three that they had been in a group of six people.
Mr Maingi said they caught up with them after tracking them using phone signals.
"They had warned the advocate that they would pay him a visit. We discovered they were in town so we kept an eye on the advocate," he said.
"At Mathioya river, the gangsters stopped their cars and started exchanging their cars and number plates. We intercepted and ordered them to surrender but they opened fire so the officers responded," he said that night.
The other three people escaped during a shootout with police.
The DCIO said police collected an AK 47 rifle and a toy pistol from the scene.
They also seized the two vehicles that the suspects had been using and launched a hunt for the suspects who fled.
Mr Maingi said the motive for the incident was unknown and that the lawyer had been kidnapped before.