Villagers flee as police hunt for Tharaka-Nithi chief’s killers



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Five people have been arrested in Tharaka-Nithi following the gruesome murder of Kamaindi Location Chief Japheth Mayau Mukengu which also led to the killing of Chuka OCS Joseph Kinyua as he pursued the suspects.

Tharaka-Nithi County Police Commander Charles Mbatu has confirmed the arrests and asked residents to cooperate with the police officers searching for other suspects.

“We urge members of the public to cooperate with police and continue giving us information that will help us arrest all the suspected criminals,” said Mr Mbatu.

Meanwhile, villagers have fled their homes for fear of facing government’s wrath as hundreds of police officers conduct a door-to-door search of the suspected criminals.

Mr Sammy Mutegi, a businessman at a nearby Mbaria market told the Nation that on Wednesday evening he saw villagers moving away from their homes carrying their belongings and children.

“Most of the villagers have fled and are now hosted by their relatives living in distant places,” said Mr Mutegi.

The Nation also saw several police vehicles leave Chuka town heading to the village, which is approximately 20 kilometres away and about five kilometres from the Kathwana county headquarters.

The OCS was killed by a suspect in the chief’s murder, Mr David Ikaba at Ugweri market in Embu East on Wednesday, where he operated butchery.

Mr Ikaba, who was shot and killed by the police, hacked the OCS on the head with an axe.

A police informer was seriously injured by members of the public and is fighting for his life at Embu Level Five Hospital.

Sources claimed the residents killed the chief on Tuesday this week after they were angered by his brother, Gikware Mukengu, for detaining goats belonging to resident, Gitonga Kibuibe, who went missing in December 2018.

Mr Kibuibe’s remains were found in the nearby River Thuci three weeks ago.

Irate residents cornered the 52-year-old chief, slashed him with pangas and then set him on fire.

The goats had reportedly trespassed into Mr Gikware’s land.

According to sources, there has been a prolonged land dispute between the residents, the chief and his brother, whom they accused of killing Mr Kibuibe and throwing his body into the river.


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