Families seek justice for sons’ killings

Thursday November 10 2011

By SAMUEL KARANJA [email protected]

Families whose sons were killed on suspicion of being Mungiki members are demanding compensation from the government.

While testifying before the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) during hearings at the Murang’a County Council hall on Thursday, the families told of their pain after their sons were arrested and executed.

Tears flowed freely from witnesses who said their sons were killed either by police or by the militia groups. For the first time in the area, the outlawed sect was discussed in public.

“The government should compensate us for the suffering we went through,” said Mrs Catherine Wanjiru Maina from Kiharu whose brother Daniel Nderu was allegedly killed after his arrest.

Mrs Maina narrated to commissioners Maj-Gen (Rtd) Ahmed Farah (pictured) who was chairing the sittings, Mr Berhanu Dinka and Tecla Namachanja how police officers denied the family a chance to see him at Kahuro Police Station in June 2007 before his death.

She said Mr Nderu and another neighbour Mr Martin Wandaka Mwangi, 26, were locked up in police cells for four days but their bodies were found later at the Murang’a District Hospital mortuary.

“I remember hearing gunshots one night four days after they were arrested for allegedly possessing bhang and snuff and I suspect they were executed near our home,” Mrs Maina said.

Efforts to get information from the police about the whereabouts of her brother were futile, she said.

Another victim, Ms Catherine Wanjiru, 70, told the commission how one evening, unknown people hacked her only son to death, badly injured her and destroying her property.

Mzee Stephen Mwangi, 68, narrated how police came to his house at Kahuro Village and arrested his son without giving reason for the move.

“The police officers beat me up and chased me away when I sought my son’s whereabouts,” added Mzee Mwangi.

He said he later found the body of his son at a local mortuary.

Many other residents said they were tortured by security agents who were pursuing Mungiki members.