Villagers in Nyeri have blocked the burial of one of their own until police arrest the suspects behind the killing.
They have camped at the home of the late Samuel Ruoro to stop his burial until the suspect is arrested. In the meantime, the body of the deceased, will continue lying in a mortuary in Mukurweini.
“The deceased will not be buried until police tell us who killed him. We know that once we bury him, they will not bother to arrest the suspects,” Mr Robert Wachira, a neighbour, told the Nation .
The family will for now continue digging deeper into their pockets as the mortuary bill rises with each passing day.
To his four children, his wife and siblings, it is a dilemma; a fight for justice over his brutal murder and the need for emotional closure by giving him his last respects.
“At the end of the day, everybody wants justice and we hope we get it. But at the same time, it is confusing moment for us because we do not know what to do next or when we will bury our brother,” Ms Susan Njoki said.
His death has left a cloud of sorrow, fear and bitterness in the usually quiet village bordering Mukurweini and Othaya constituencies.
The evening of Sunday June 23, 2018 seemed a routine evening for Mr Ruoro, but in the cover of darkness his killers lay in wait. He is said to have received a call from an unknown person at around 11pm and left his house. That was the last time he was seen alive.
His body was found the following day stuffed in a sack and dumped in a cattle dip. The motive of the brutal killing is still unknown.
Detectives suspect that it was carried out by more than one person given the nature of the injuries and the efforts to hide the body .
His killers tied him up, stuffed his body into a sack and filled it with soil and sand before dumping it into the dip.
An autopsy reports suggest the victim was strangled to death as some bones around the neck had been dislodged and broken.
Sammy was supposed to be buried last week in his home in Witima. The family was, however, forced to postpone the funeral after irate youth halted the burial and vowed attack the home. The youths demanded the arrest of suspects they believe were involved in the brutal killing.
“They feel that police are not pursuing the case fast enough. The home does not feel safe anymore so the burial was called off because they had vowed to camp at the home a make sure it does not go on until suspects are arrested,” Ms Njoki said.
Due to the standoff six officers were deployed to the home on the eve of the funeral and camped overnight to provide security.
The youths had reportedly mobilised ready to attack on Wednesday night on a revenge mission.
Some of the locals have also accused some of Sammy’s family members of being involved in his murder.
The locals held demonstrations in Othaya last week accusing police of delaying investigations.
“They are very quick to arrest drunkards and petty thieves. But when someone is killed they do nothing. Sammy did not owe anyone anything and did not deserve to die like an animal. Even if it takes months we will not bury him until his killers are arrested,” Ms Nancy Wairimu said.
The burial has also been delayed by investigations as police requested to conduct several forensic analyses, interrogations and studies of the possible scene of crime. While police have remained tight-lipped on the actual murder scene, sources privy to the investigation say it is suspected that he was killed in or near his home.
Several family members have also been questioned but police are yet to make any arrests in the case.
Detectives pursuing the matter say they are making progress in the case and have managed to uncover key leads in the case. Police say they have managed to get his mobile phone data and are tracing numbers used to call him on the night he disappeared.
Nyeri South Divisional Criminal Investigating Officer Francis Longochila told the Nation yesterday that the numbers have provided key clues in the case.
“Getting the data is a key step in our investigations. We have numbers that contacted him on the night he disappeared and once we analyse them we will have names to pursue,” the DCI boss said.
Nyeri County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia has also intervened on the matter calling for calm from the residents.
“There is no reason for the residents to become hostile. They should stay calm and let the family bury their loved one as investigators pursue the suspects. I will have the area DCC look into the issue and ensure that calm is restored,” Mr Shisia said.
The family is yet to decide on an alternative date for the funeral. At the same time the villagers have given authorities a week to finalise their investigations upon when they will stage demonstrations at the Nyeri County Police Headquarters in Nyeri Town.