What you need to know:
- An irate mob stormed the police post and pulled the suspect as he was boarding a police vehicle for transfer to Kapenguria
- Residents claimed the man was part of a dreaded gang that has been terrorising traders, raping women and robbing boda boda riders of their motorcycles and killing people in Kapenguria town
- Police led by Kapenguria OCPD Kipkoech Kirui went to the scene, but the body had already been set on fire
An angry mob snatched a suspect from police custody, lynched him and then set his body on fire a few metres from a police post in Makutano, West Pokot County.
The man had been arrested by the police, but angry residents stormed Makutano police post where they executed mob justice. Business came to a standstill in Makutano township, following the Wednesday evening incident.
Police were transferring the man suspected of being a notorious criminal to Kapenguria Police Station. He had been arrested after allegedly killing a secondary school student a few days ago.
Residents claimed the man was part of a dreaded gang that has been terrorising traders, robbing boda boda riders of their motorcycles and killing people in Kapenguria town.
After the lynching, the body of the man lay at the scene, but later youths and women set it on fire.
Police led by Kapenguria OCPD Kipkoech Kirui went to the scene, but the body had already been set on fire.
Stormed police post
According to Mr Kirui, an irate mob numbering about 700 had stormed the police station and pulled the suspect as he was boarding a police vehicle for transfer to Kapenguria.
“They attacked him using stones and pieces of wood until he died about 100 metres from the post,” he said.
According to the OCPD, efforts by police officers to control the mob were unsuccessful.
“Police tried to restrain but were overpowered by the public,” he said, noting that some officers were injured and lost their valuables, including a mobile phone.
“In the process, officers sustained injuries as follows: (1) No.81463 Cpl Ali Mohammed suffered a brushed left wrist and also his mobile phone Techno 19 valued at Sh24,000 was snatched, (2) No. 259296 PC Bare Aden lost one tooth, (3) No. 118674 PC Juma Dalo was injured on the right rib area and both knees,” he said.
The mob further damaged the police vehicle’s windscreen and a civilian’s vehicle, said Mr Kirui.
“Nineteen rounds of 7.62mm special and two rounds of 7.62mm ordinary were fired in the air to scare the stubborn mob,” said Mr Kirui.
The scene was processed and the body was moved to Kapenguria County Referral Hospital mortuary pending a post-mortem.
While confirming that the man was a well-known suspected criminal, the OCPD urged the public not to take the law into their hands.
Town dwellers led by women traders at Makutano open air market who went to witness the incident lamented the high rate of crime and put criminals on notice.
“Mothers are being raped when coming from the market in the evening. We are happy the mob killed this one. If the police continue hiding them, we shall finish them. We shall deal with them one by one,” declared one of the women traders.
According to residents, Shrek Street in the town has become dangerous, with idle youths loitering around. Traders told youths with dreadlocks to shave them, warning that they will all be treated as suspects.
Another female trader said the gang was attacking and taking phones, and forcing victims to give up their passwords for the criminals to transfer money.
“If you identify them, they kill you. We struggle to educate our children but gangsters steal from us. Boda boda riders should take care. It has been a lesson to them today,” she said.
A village elder at Makutano said crime had increased in the area. She claimed that criminals from Uganda were being harboured by a village elder.
“The elder should be sacked. He has been taking the boys who are trained in Uganda and brought here to steal,” she alleged.