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Brother of missing Siaya bishop arrested

Thursday January 30 2020

Roho Judea Church

Members of Roho Judea Church hold demos in Siaya town on January 28, 2020 to protest the abduction of their bishop Charles Oduor Awich. Police have arrested th bishop’s brother over the bishop’s disappearance. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DICKENS WASONGA
By DICKENS WASONGA
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Police in Siaya County have arrested a suspect in connection with the disappearance of a local church bishop.

The suspect is a brother of Bishop Charles Oduor Awich of Roho Judea Church who was abducted almost a month ago.

Police have ruled out church wrangles, saying investigations are pointing at a family land tussle.

The suspect was arrested three days ago according to officers investigating the matter.

LOCATION

Siaya County Police Commander Francis Kooli said the suspect was arrested after he told detectives investigating the matter that he knows the spot where the bishop's body was buried.

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But Mr Kooli told the Nation Thursday that the suspect did not show them the said location.

"He led police to several spots where he claimed the bishop's body was buried but the detectives could not find it," he said.

The county police boss said they decided to detain him longer because of his suspicious conduct.

"We want to establish if he has anything to do with the abduction but he is still taking us round in circles," he said.

He said a forest officer was among those who had recorded statements over the matter.

SUSPECT AT LARGE

Another suspect who detectives believe is the mastermind of the disappearance is also being pursued, Mr Kooli revealed.

"We believe the abduction was orchestrated by a land dispute that the bishop's family has been involved in which also led to the mysterious death of his grandmother a few years ago," he said.

Members of the church on Tuesday demonstrated along the streets of Siaya town to protest against police delays in tracing the whereabouts of the bishop, accusing them of reluctance.

Speaking to journalists after presenting a petition to Siaya Sub-County County Commissioner Joseph Sawe, the protesters accused police of not doing enough to apprehend the kidnappers despite having been provided with names of suspects.

FOREST OFFICER

Led by Bishop Odhiambo Oria, who is the chairman of Siaya Churches Fellowship, the protesters said police have refused to arrest a senior forest officer whose motorbike was spotted at the missing bishop's home on the night he disappeared.

"We have obtained the registration number of the motorcycle. The forest officer is at the centre of a land dispute involving the family which is pending in a Siaya court," he said.

FEARS

There are fears that the bishop may have been killed by his abductors.

Bishop Awich is said to have been kidnapped by armed men wearing police uniform on January 11.

The matter was reported at the Siaya Police Station under OB No. 08/12/01/2020.

According to the bishop's wife, Hellen Adhiambo, he was involved in a land tussle with some of his relatives.

“We suspect he could have been kidnapped because of the ongoing land case which is still pending in a court in Siaya,” she said.

Ms Adhiambo appealed to the State to assist them trace the whereabouts of her husband whom she described as the family’s breadwinner.