LEADERSHIP STRUGGLE?

Three held in suspected murder of missing nurse

Believed to have been strangled, body dumped in rain-swollen River Athi.

In Summary

• Paul Kyoko Nzoka disappeared on November 26. His wife reported his disappearance on November 26.

• 3 suspects, including his nursing boss, were ordered held for 28 days to allow for investigations by Kithamani police. Power wars at the clinic suggested as the motive.

 

A Machakos court on Wednesday allowed police to continue holding three men suspected of killing nurse Paul Nzoka in Yatta.
A Machakos court on Wednesday allowed police to continue holding three men suspected of killing nurse Paul Nzoka in Yatta. 
Image: THE STAR

A Machakos court on Wednesday allowed police to continue holding three men suspected of killing nurse Paul Nzoka in Yatta. 

Nzoka is believed to have been strangled and dumped in Athi River; the body has not been found and high water levels have hampered the search.

The officers sought to detain nurse Franklin Mbithi, businessman Samson Kataka and nurse Bernard Maore for 28 days to allow for investigations. They were not charged.

 

Mbithi was Nzoka's boss at Kisiiki Health Centre, Kataka is a businessman in Matuu town and Maore is a nurse at nearby Ikombe dispensary.

Kenya Union of Nurses chairman Joseph Ngwasi said Nnzoka could have been killed in a power struggle.

Police said based on preliminary investigations Nzoka and Mbithi had work-related disagreements.

On Tuesday, police officers in Matuu arrested the three suspects in connection with Nzoka's death.

Nzoka, 37, had rented a house in Matuu close to Kisiiki Health Centre where he worked. He was also a final year student at Kenya Methodist University and was supposed to sit his final exams this week.

On November 30, his wife filed a missing person report at a police station after trying without success to reach him for four days.

She then went to Matuu where she found his house locked, prompting a search by the police.

 

They said they believe Kataka and Maore were recruited by Mbithi in the scheme.

Police suspect Nzoka was picked up in a car before his death.

They said their leads indicate that Nzoka was strangled with a rope.

Appearing before Judge Gilbert Shikwe at Kithamani law courts on Wednesday, the police said initial investigations implicated the three men.

They also recovered an item, a burnt phone, that required forensic examination.

A police report by Yatta subcounty police commander Joseph Karanja said the officers had recovered a rope suspected to have been used to strangle the victim. A burnt phone suspected to belong to Nzoka was also recovered.

“We suspect the phone was damaged in an attempt to destroy phone records. A further forensic examination might give us a way forward,” police said in their report.

The detective said they have sought aid from National Disaster Management Agencies to retrieve the body due to flooding and high water levels.

Kenya Union of Nurses chairman Joseph Ngwasi has condemned the act, urging the police to do a thorough investigation.

He urged the government to ensure security for health workers in all health facilities.

Makima ward MCA Philip Nzangi called for urgent action by a multi-agency team looking for the body so the family can accord him a decent send-off.

(Edited by V. Graham)