Kenya: Matungu Boy Buried as Fear Spreads

The seven-year-old pupil who was stabbed to death by unknown people in Matungu constituency in Kakamega County on Sunday was laid to rest at his parents' home as fear gripped the neighbouring Navakholo constituency after residents stumbled on leaflets warning them of an impending attack by a killer gang.

Malik Wamukoya Murunga, who was a Class One pupil at Bulimbo Star Academy, was buried at his parents' home in Panyako village, Kholera ward in an emotional send-off attended by villagers Wednesday.

Teachers and pupils of Bulimbo Star Academy attended the burial and struggled to control tears as prayers were being said before the burial took place.

Villagers trooped to the home in a sombre mood, too scared to utter a word about the bizarre killing of the boy.

"Villagers are living in fear because of the attacks targeting innocent villagers. There are strange people roaming in maize farms and we do not know what their intentions are. We are asking security chiefs to step up patrols and arrest the suspects," said Ms Alima Wamukoya, the Panyako village elder.

Meanwhile, in the neighbouring Navakholo constituency residents were in panic in the wake of leaflets warning them of an impending attack by a criminal gang known as the 42 Brothers.

The leaflets were found strewn along a road at Sidikho in Kochwa sub-location yesterday. They read, "42 Brothers. Leo ni leo. Wageni wanakuja. Mnakaribishwa. (Today is today. Visitors are coming. You are welcome.)"

Two gangs, 42 Brothers and 14 Brothers, have been linked to the killing of six night guards at Kilingili market in Vihiga County two months ago and the bizarre attacks on villagers in Matungu sub-county, Kakamega County, which have left at least 14 people dead. Kochwa sub-chief Josphat Makete said he received calls from panicky villagers who brought the matter to his attention.

"We have collected 14 leaflets and handed them over to the police to conduct investigations. We have asked residents to remain calm as investigations are progress," said Mr Makete. Navakholo sub-county police commander Jacob Chelimo said preliminary investigations indicated that the leaflets had been written by pupils from a nearby primary school.

"We have recorded statements from three pupils after interrogating them. We are still going on with the investigations to establish whether somebody is using the children to circulate the leaflets," said Mr Chelimo. Residents have asked security agencies to step up patrols. Western Region Commissioner Anne Ngetich said that 15 suspects linked to the killings in Matungu had been arrested.

Ms Ngetich spoke after chairing a security meeting at the Matungu sub-county headquarters.

She said that a command centre had been established to coordinate security operations. Ms Ngetich asked the public to visit the centre and volunteer information on suspected criminals.

"We managed to arrest 15 suspects. One is linked to the killing of the seven-year-old boy," said the administrator.

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