SAVE US FURTHER AGONY

Nyandarua village engulfed in fear of ghastly revenge attacks

Two brothers murdered by a vigilante group buried on Wednesday in a highly tense ceremony

In Summary

• Governor Francis Kimemia and Mirangine MCA urged the residents to stay calm and preach peace.

• Mirangine police boss denied knowledge of planned retaliatory attacks after leaflets were dropped in the village with names of alleged killers. 

Mourners during the burial of brothers Peter Maina and William Kunyiha in Ramana village, Mirangine, on Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
Mourners during the burial of brothers Peter Maina and William Kunyiha in Ramana village, Mirangine, on Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
Image: Ndichu Wainaina
Family members and friends during the burial of Peter Maina and William Kunyiha tin Ramana village, Mirangine, on Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Family members and friends during the burial of Peter Maina and William Kunyiha tin Ramana village, Mirangine, on Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Image: Ndichu Wainaina

The killing of two brothers in Nyandarua on the night of Wednesday last week could just be the beginning of a period of bloodshed if authorities do not act with speed.

William Kunyiha and Peter Maina were killed on Wednesday. But sooner or later, more murders may be carried out on a revenge mission in Ramana village, Mirangine subcounty. Residents have urged security officers to swiftly bring the culprits to book and stay extra-vigilant to forestall a series of counterattacks.

The two brothers were accused by a vigilante group of hiding thieves in their home. The vigilantes - said to be between seven and 15 men - went to the home allegedly on a search mission for the thieves. They claimed to be members of the Nyumba Kumi Initiative.

 
 

During the raid, they took the law into their own hands and left a family in suffering. The deceased's brother, Joseph Mathenge, and a four-year-old boy are still nursing injuries. Their property was also destroyed and a motorcycle belonging to Maina stolen.

The burial was marked by highly tense moments. Hundreds of villagers attended and armed police patrolled the area until late in the evening after it emerged that scores of dreadlocked youths, who were among the mourners, planned to cause chaos.

They had planned to take the two bodies to Mirangine police station, where they would have camped for some time, before carrying them back to the burial site, 500 metres from the station.

However, their mission aborted after a contingent of armed police officers kept guard, with plainclothes officers also deployed to mingle with the mourners. The hearse driver was directed to head straight for the burial site from the mortuary without stopping anywhere along the way.

Some residents told the Star that on Tuesday evening, leaflets bearing the names of the men allegedly involved in the murder were dropped in the village but were collected again early Wednesday morning.

Mirangine subcounty police commander John Matsili, however, denied knowledge of any planned revenge attack. 

Speaking to the Star by phone on Thursday, he said police were also not aware of the leaflets but added that the matter had already been taken up by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the National Intelligence Service.

 
 

“I am not aware of that. That matter is with DCI and NIS guys. They are the ones carrying out investigations on the ground and they have not reported such issues to me,” he said.

Angry residents who spoke at the burial said people’s lives matter and they cannot just be slaughtered like sheep or goats on mere suspicion that they are harbouring criminals.

“If they were in the wrong, if indeed someone’s property had been stolen, we should have been called for a fundraiser to pay back instead of taking away lives," Mary Mwangi said.

Pastor Kahigi said the residents should join hands with religious leaders for God to cleanse the village and prevent more deaths, while Pastor Peter Mwangi of Joy Celebrations Centre, Mirangine, urged residents to stay calm and give investigating authorities time to work instead of causing more violence.

A similar call was made by Justus Njoroge, the personal assistant of Mirangine MCA Mathu Wainaina. Offering condolences on behalf of Governor Francis Kimemia and the MCA, Njoroge said the two leaders have said the matter "is with the DCI and soon everything will come to light".

"Stay calm and preach peace. God is still on the throne and nothing is beyond him,” he appealed. 

Some residents, however, told the Star there are only two options for the people who killed the two brothers to be safe. Either they are arrested and taken into custody or they leave the village and hide far away as they are well known and so are their homes.

“If the anger witnessed here, especially among the youth, is anything to go by, it is just a matter of time and we shall come back to bury more people,” a resident said.

 

(Edited by F'Orieny)