A police officer yesterday told a court of his chilling interactions with “three officers” on the night human rights lawyer Willy Kimani, his client and taxi driver were brutally murdered.
Paul Mitambo told the court that he briefly interacted with the three in the middle of the open field in Syokimau and he was very nervous, prompting him to cock his AK 47 rifle at some point.
The incident occurred on June 23, 2016, between 8pm and 11pm.
The prosecution believes Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were murdered on that night in the same field.
They went missing after Kimani and Mwenda went to court for the hearing of a case in a Machakos court, in which Mwenda accused an AP officer of assault and attempted murder.
A week later, their badly mutilated bodies were found dumped in Ol Donyo Sabuk River.
Mitambo, from the Mlolongo police station, said he first saw the strangers at about 8pm on his way home.
“It was strange to see a car at that time because we are not used to seeing one. The field has only a few houses. As I passed by the car, I was very nervous, I briefly looked at them and said 'hallo',” he told trial judge Jessie Lesiit.
The witness said the three men were standing next to a silver salon car, which had its hazards lights on and whose registration he could only remember as KBU.
Mitambo told court that he got more suspicious after his landlady, Agnes Wayua, pointed out the strange vehicle and the three men.
Twenty minutes later, Mitambo said he and his three neighbours drove to where the men were.
“I was very nervous and I had to cock my gun. My eyes were focused on the three men. I did not even look closely the number plates of their vehicle," he added.
Once he got close to the silver saloon car, Mitambo said he asked his neighbours to stay put in the car and went out to enquire from the strangers what they wanted.
“One of the them told me they were police officers and were watching out since they had information notorious thugs had planned to raid the area,” he said.
“When they told me they were police officers, I believed them because they had the radio call-over.”
Mitambo said he noticed one of them had a Maasai leso and was about 5.6 feet, while another was wearing a jacket.
He said he left for work but returned at about 11pm after he fell ill
To his surprise, he found the same vehicle and a second car in the same place.
Although it was suspicious, the officer said he did not question them again because they had told him they were police officers on duty.
On trial are AP officers Fredrick Leliman, Leonard Maina, Stephen Chebulet and Silvia Wanjiku and informer Peter Ngugi.
They are suspected to have murdered Kimani, Mwenda and Muiruri, whose bodies were found stashed in gunny bags at Oldonyo Sabuk River.
It is suspected that the three men were abducted by the officers as they left the Mavoko law courts and were taken to Syokimau AP camp, where they were detained for hours without being booked.