A section of villagers in Tharaka-Nithi should have known better than hack an OCS to death. Now the entire village has fled.
Villagers started fleeing their homes after a contingent of General Service Unit (GSU) aka Red Berets, aka fanya fujo uone officers was deployed to Kamaindi village and Ugweri market of Embu.
The berets were deployed following the gruesome killing of the OCS who was pursuing suspects alleged to have killed the area chief.
Chuka OCS Joseph Kinyua was killed on Wednesday, as he pursued the suspects in the gruesome murder of Chief Japheth Mayau Mukengu on Tuesday, April 30.
Seven suspects had by last evening been arrested in connection with the incident.
Five of them were arrested in a probe on the chief’s killing, while two are in police custody in connection with the murder of the OCS.
Five of the suspects were yesterday arraigned in a Chuka court, where police were allowed to continue holding them for two weeks to conclude investigations.
Kamaindi village sits along Mate Highway, which connects Embu, Tharaka-Nithi and Meru counties. It has hundreds of shopping centers along the road, store front shops facing the highway host a variety of businesses, from butcheries, general shops, hotels and bars.
But yesterday, stores at the shopping center remained closed and abandoned, with no signs of life except for the occasional village dog sheltering underneath an acacia tree and a few stray hens.
Armed police officers were patrolling the deserted center.
At the late Chief Mukengu’s home, his widow declined to be interviewed. Her neighbors had all fled, leaving livestock to graze on the freshly planted farms; something that would never have occurred had the owners been around.
A few residents from hiding described how the OCS was killed.
They said a police vehicle parked near a butchery at the market. Three men alighted from the vehicle and walked towards the butchery. Ten minutes later, some commotion was heard at the butchery followed by gunshots and screaming.
A witness said when he peeked into the butchery, he saw two men holding a machete and two police officers shooting in the air to disperse a big crowd that had gathered.
“We then saw two men being carried by a group of people. They were bleeding profusely. We learnt one of them was the Chuka police station OCS,” said the witness.
Chief Mukengu was killed by an irate crowd at his brother Gikware Mukengu’s home when he went to resolve what police termed a grazing dispute.
His brother had been accused of detaining goats owned by a resident, Gitonga Kibuibe, who went missing in December last year.
However, upon the chief’s arrival at his brother’s compound, the villagers turned their rage on him and hacked him to death before burning his body.
Kinyua was tasked with hunting down the killers. He tracked down the suspected killer, David Ikaaba, to Ugweru shopping center, some 30km from Kamaindi village.
According to Eastern Regional Police Commander Esther Kihiko, the OCS confronted the suspect, who grabbed an axe and attacked him.
“Kinyua succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital, and in trying to control the situation, police opened fire, killing Ikaaba,” said Ms Kihiko.