Family suspects foul play after kin 'commits suicide' in police cells

'He found an opportunity in our facility; he was determined to die'

In Summary

• The father of one had been arrested for allegedly stealing a loudspeaker and a battery

• Relatives say that police tortured him to disclose the whereabouts of the stolen items



Samuel Njega Njogo died in a cell at Ngano Police Station in Nyandarua on Wednesday morning. Police say he hanged himself, but his family – at  Oraimutia in Ol Joro Orok – suspects foul play and is demanding justice.

The 41-year-old father of one had been arrested the previous day for allegedly stealing a Woofer (loudspeaker) and a battery.

His brother, Muturi Njogo, said the family was told that Njogo used his trousers to hang himself from the cell's ventilation.

The family contends that he was tortured and accuse the police of creating the suicide narrative to conceal the truth and subvert justice.

Muturi says Njogo was taken to Charagita Police Post after his arrest. He was tortured to disclose where the stolen items were. The police transferred him to Ngano police station after recovering the Woofer and the battery.

After the family was informed of the alleged suicide, they sought to be shown the body and the suicide room. But the police had already removed it and put it in a vehicle headed to Nyahururu Referral Hospital's mortuary.

“I asked them why they removed the body before we arrived and they said those are government affairs," Muturi told the Star by phone

He asked to be shown the cell where his brother killed himself. The officers took away his phone before letting him into the cell "so that I do not take photos".

The ventilation from where Njogo hanged himself is, according to Muturi, about six feet from the ground.  He did not need to step on a bucket - as claimed by the police - to hang himself.

Muturi said the night duty officer told him that Njogo killed himself at 4.00am while he (officer) had gone to call a colleague who was to relieve him. Njogo, according to the officer, was in chains and on police guard. He had allegedly threatened to kill himself at 8.00pm on Tuesday. 

“How was it possible for Njogo, still in chains, to remove his gumboots, trousers, wear his gumboots again and then hang himself?" Muturi asked.

At Ol Joro Orok Police Station where Muturi went after his brother was taken to the mortuary, subcounty police commander Isaac Ruto allegedly said Njogo tied his trousers around his neck and skidded on the cell's floor. This did not tally with the earlier police report.

“As a family, we are determined to pursue justice to stop this from happening to any other person in this area," Muturi said.

County police commander Gideon Ngumi told the Star by phone that an inquest has been opened to ascertain the circumstances under which Njogo died. He maintained that the death was by suicide since the man "was suicidal and had attempted to take his life several times".

“He found an opportunity in our facility. He was determined to die," Ngumi said.

He denied the family’s assertion that there was foul play. He said the postmortem examination "will reveal everything".

“... and definitely, when someone dies in our custody, the Independent Police Oversight Authority is involved. Our investigation is not final," Ngumi said.