Terror grips village as vigilante gang strikes, killing four people

JACOB OWITI | NATION. Ms Yunoke Kwamboka of Kegogi village mourns her son Pascal Gichana Onyiego, 30, who is among the four people beheaded and their bodies dumped by roadside in Nyamira district on Monday.

JACOB OWITI | NATION. Ms Yunoke Kwamboka of Kegogi village mourns her son Pascal Gichana Onyiego, 30, who is among the four people beheaded and their bodies dumped by roadside in Nyamira district on Monday.

From the DAily Nation By HENRY NYARORA, henrynyarora@yahoo.co.uk and VALENTINE OBARA, vobara@ke.nationmedia.com

Posted  Wednesday, September 22 2010 at 17:32

Sungusungu an outlawed outfit

  • The Sungusungu, the vigilante group said to be behind the killings, is an illegal outfit operating in Kisii.
  • In 2008, 12 people, including a reverend’s wife, were killed and their bodies burnt on suspicion they were practising witchcraft.
  • This week, Jeremiah Bogonko became a victim of the group

Residents of a village in Nyamira District are living in fear following the killing of four people by vigilantes.

The killers, numbering about 50 and suspected to be members of the notorious Sungusungu vigilante group, stormed Kegogi village and dragged out people they suspected to be criminals and hacked them to death.

Witnesses said the vigilantes, armed with axes, machetes and rungus on Monday night stripped their victims before dragging them from their homes to a deserted area where they tied their hands behind their backs and chopped off their heads.

Arranged in a line

Mr William Meoka, who lives close to where the bodies were found, said the heads were arranged in a line by the roadside and the torsos in a trench.

“We found the heads arranged in a neat row as if the murderers were not in a hurry,” he said.

Relatives of one of the victims, Mr Pascal Gichana, are in shaken by the turn of events.

His brother, Mr Joseph Onyiego, narrated how Mr Gichana was at a neighbour’s funeral when the gang pounced.

“They stormed the homestead and ordered everybody to lie down. They selected two men and dragged them away but returned and took away my brother after ripping off his clothes with their machetes,” he said.

Mrs Eunice Nyaboke Bogonko, the wife of another victim, said her husband, Mr Jeremiah Bogonko Bosire, was abducted from their home at about 10pm after he went out to investigate why the dogs were barking.

“I heard people asking him why he had come out of the house and where he was going. Five of them came into the house and demanded mobile phones, which we surrendered.

“They then smashed the TV set and radio before disappearing into the darkness, taking my husband with them,” Mrs Bogonko said.

“I alerted my father-in-law and we spent a sleepless night. The following morning we learnt that my husband’s headless body had been found in Miruka area in Nyamira.”

The family could not understand why the police had not been to their home, more than 24 hours after the incident. Mr Pascal Gichana Onyiego, a father of three, was killed in similar circumstances

The fourth murder victim, Mr Jeremiah Bogonko Nyakundi was at a funeral when more than 50 people raided the home and selected four people they claimed had guns used to kill a Kenya Assemblies of God church pastor, Mr Michael Onchong’a Nyakundi at Nyambororo village on the Nyamira-Marani border on Sunday night.

West Mugirango chief Duncan Moriasi and Miruka sub-location assistant chief Mathews Onyango asked why the assailants dumped three of the bodies in their area.

“The hands of the victims were tied behind their backs in an indication that the assailants might be Sungusungu,” Mr Moriasi said.

Sungusungu is an outlawed vigilante group in Kisii District that purports to fight criminals.

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