Cohen's killers are here at grave — says widow Sarah Wairimu

Tense atmosphere and sharp barbs at the ewish Cemetery for the funeral of Tob Cohen.

In Summary

• Sarah says she knows the killers, they're at the cemetery, 'wolves in sheep's clothing'. 

• Tob's brother Bernard suggests Cohen wasn't proud of union with Sarah, suggests it was a marriage of convenience so he could stay in the country.

Tom Cohen's widow Sarah Wairimu said she knows the killers, they're at the cemetery, 'wolves in sheep's clothing'. See story

"Even as we stand here, many of the ones responsible for Tob's death here in sheepskin, believe you me, your days are also numbered."

These were the ominous words of Sarah Wairimu, the widow of the slain Dutchman Tob Cohen during his burial on Tuesday at the Jewish Cemetery in Nairobi.

Wearing black trousers, a flowered blouse, she clutched a bouquet of red and yellow roses close to her chest. The flowers were handed to her by her lawyer Philip Murgor.

She has been detained in connection with the murder but was allowed to attend after a court order.

The brief Jewish ceremony, presided over by a rabbi and Jewish priests, was conducted in a tense atmosphere. Barbs were traded between Cohen's brother Bernard and Sarah.

 Bernard started the exchange when called to speak, suggesting the union between Cohen and Wairimu was a marriage of convenience. He said it was plotted single-handedly by Sarah as a scheme to save Cohen from getting kicked out of the country.

"Today we are gathered here to bury my brother for the second time, but this time with dignity," Bernard said, a reference to the discovery of the body in a water tank.

He explained that the marriage was Sarah's idea when his [Cohen]'s neighbours started fighting over his properties. 

"He got a piece of land so his neighbours started fighting over his premises. So he would have been kicked out of this country. According to Sarah, they had to marry for him to stay in Kenya," he said. 

The brother also said that the relationship between the two started slowly as Cohen kept it under wraps, not wanting to let his family abroad to know.

One thing I know about my husband is that he was a real simba, he was not scared of anybody. One thing Tob taught me is not to take no for an answer. So even in this, I'm going to fight.
Sarah Wairimu, Tob Cohen's widow

"He fell in love with Kenya, and later started a new life. In the meantime, a secret relationship started growing slowly by slowly with Sarah. He raised Sarah's daughter and sponsored her education since she was three years old until she did her master's degree at in a university in the Netherlands," he said. 

Bernard created the impression that his brother was not proud of his relationship with Sarah and kept it hidden from his family.

"So unexpectedly, we learnt of the torturing and subsequent slaughtering of our brother.... For the three of us coming from a family of a Holocaust survivor, it was least expected."

When she got her chance to speak,  Sarah rubbished the claim of her presence in Cohen's life being a secret, asserting that she was "a Cohen".

"There is nothing secret. I'm glad you've heard all my names and I'm glad you realise I'm Sarah Cohen. Know that very clear," she said. 

"One thing I know about my husband is that he was a real simba [lion], he was not scared of anybody. One thing Tob taught me is not to take no for an answer. So even in this, I'm going to fight," she said.

Sarah said the killers of her husband were at the gathering, pretending to be family, calling them wolves in sheepskin.

"It's been painful but I'm glad.....the family members who are pretending as family....yours is another story," she added.

Sarah said her relationship with Cohen was public and was widely known in their golf fraternity.

"Those responsible for Tob's, death (are here) yet pretending to be sheep and purporting to be family...I will fight back," she said.

Former politicians Peter Muiruri and Ngengi Muigai, who both spoke after the Bernard Cohen, said they knew Cohen was murdered immidiately he was reported missing.

"Even when people were saying he is missing, I knew he was murdered. I was the last person to speak to him and what he told me I have told the DCI," Muiruri said. HIs statement appeared to upset Sarah and her lawyers. Their faces were grim.

Earlier on, there was tension between Philip Murgor and Muiruri. Others had to intervene to calm them.

"This is not his funeral. He must learn to act with civility," Murgor was heard chiding Muiruri.

After the speeches, the presiding rabbi identified as Yacoub announced that a Jewish-only delegation would be allowed to proceed to the graveside for the last rites.

The rest would follow at a roughly one-metre distance. Then each of the Jewish clerics and the rabbi dropped a spade of soil in the grave

Sarah was allowed to do the same after Cohen's lawyer Cliff Ombeta attempted to block her, saying no woman would be allowed at the graveside.

(Edited by V.Graham)

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