1 March 2012

Kenya: Borabu Village Tension After Suspected Witches Lynched

Tension remained high yesterday at a village in Borabu district, Nyamira county, where two suspected witches were lynched.

Yunia Anari and Abineri Marwanga were lynched by an irate mob at Nyagacho/Kamasege village.

It was reported that children heading to a nearby school found a booklet containing names of villagers who have since died and those to follow, with the names of Marwanga and Anari appearing as treasurer and secretary of the group behind the deaths.

About five 500 villagers resolved to search for the two at their homes.

They first stormed Marwanga's home where they also found Anari. They frog-matched them to the latter's home where they set them ablaze.

The police and the local provincial administration were caught unawares by the renewed purge on suspected witches. The villagers had executed their mission by the time they arrived.

"Majority of us were shocked to find our names in the booklet. It contained even those who have since died," said a villager who did not want his name mentioned.

"We were angered after the names of Marwanga and Anari appeared in the booklet as the treasurer and secretary of the group that is why we decided to eliminate them," he said.

The suspects had denied being responsible for the deaths and belonging to the group.

The infuriated villagers interrogated them from 8am to 9am before locking them up in a house and setting it ablaze.

Anari's brother, Anthony Kebundi, said her sister was killed because of a land dispute.

"It is saddening for people to wake up in a morning and label one as witch and lynch her. The government must take stern action on those involved," said Kebundi said.

Area assistant chief Joshua Momanyi said that he was called and informed that a booklet containing names of those who have since died and those lined up was discovered in a footbath.

He said that he informed area acting DC Florence Obungo and OCPD Ranson Rolmodoni before he rushed with police officers to calm the situation.

Momanyi said that the booklet contained names of the area chief, two assistant chiefs, two councilors and Town clerk with Town council, prominent people from the area and several locals.

Obungo and Lolmodoni visited the area and warned residents against taking the law into their hands before the charred remains were collected and taken to Nyansiongo mortuary.

"We are cautioning you not to take the law into your hands and instead report the suspects to the authorities," Obungo said.

She said that police have lynched investigations into the incident and those behind the lynching will be dealt with by the law.Incidences of lynching of suspected witches have been the order of the day in Gusii land.

Lolmodoni said said security had been intensified with police put on a 24-hour patrol of the area to avert further lynchings. By the time we went to press the residents were combing for more suspects.

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