Kenya: Officer Was in Charge of Security the Day of Wife, Children Murder

22 November 2019

Investigations into the murder of Joyce Syombua and her two children took a new twist Thursday after it emerged the prime suspect, Major Peter Mugure, was the commanding officer the day they were brutally murdered at the Laikipia Air Base.


As the commanding officer on duty that entire week, Major Mugure was in charge of ground operations, including security, and responsible for any emergencies. This squarely placed him above officers guarding the facility's entrances and exits.

The police also say that he made multiple trips in and out of the military base on October 26 without having his vehicle checked.

Police findings have since revealed a well-calculated plot by the army major to murder his entire family and cover his tracks. From the timing of the invite for his estranged wife and children to visit him at the Nanyuki air base, to where the bodies were disposed, Major Mugure had the perfect plot to get away with murder.

Detectives believe that he leveraged on his position and the absence of his senior colleagues from the barracks to kill his estranged wife and two children and later sneak their bodies out of the heavily guarded military base undetected.


This comes amid revelations that a casual worker at the officers' mess identified as Collins Pamba was offered an army job during this year's military recruitment to help Major Mugure dispose the bodies. Mr Pamba has been accused alongside the air force man of the triple homicide.

"He was the boss during that time. And we understand he was driving in an out of the area so many times, so even when he was sneaking out the bodies in his car, it was never searched," a detective privy to the case told the Nation on condition of anonymity.

Ms Syombua, together with her two children, Shanice Maua and Prince Michael, made the trip to Laikipia Airbase on October 25. They were to stay with Major Mugure after he requested to spend several days with his children in preparation for Shanice's birthday on November 1.

On October 25, they checked into house number A3, Major Mugure's official army residence inside the air base. They spent the night at the barracks, and all through Syombua was in communication with a friend in Nairobi.


On the morning of October 26, the family had breakfast together before Syombua went to take a shower at around 9am. When came out, detectives said, she found Major Mugure had left together with the children. He returned at around 11am and claimed that he had left them at a friend's house as he wished to have a private conversation with Syombua. By 3pm, the children had not returned home and Syombua expressed concern over their safety to her friend.

This was the last communication she ever made.

Investigations now reveal that the two children were murdered in house number A4, next door to Major Mugure's residence. Autopsies revealed on Wednesday that they were strangled to death using a rope. Syombua was beaten to death inside Major Mwaura's house, number A3.


Mr Pamba, was reportedly recruited by Major Mugure to help him dispose the bodies.

"He says he was asked to help bury the bodies and he (Major Mugure) would get him a job during the recruitment," a detective told the Nation. Mr Pamba was also asked to clean the blood on Major Mugure's car. Police have since impounded the vehicle.

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