Kenya: Protests at Moi's Bridge After Missing Girl Brutally Killed

On Saturday, Linda Jerono, 13, left the home of her relatives in Moi's Bridge on the Eldoret-Kitale highway, where she was living as she waited to join Form One in August.

She wanted to have her hair done and the relatives allowed her to leave on her own.

That was the last time they saw her alive.

On Monday, the mutilated body of the teenager was found dumped near the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depot in the town.

The murder of the girl is the ninth such killing -- starting with abduction, then victims later found dead, with deep cuts and missing body parts -- in a span of three years.

On Monday, the residents said enough is enough and demanded the transfer of all police officers from the area.

A large crowd stormed the police station, threatening to set it ablaze, and police had to disperse them with teargas in running battles that lasted the better part of the morning.

Three-day search

Jerono, who was from Baringo County, was described by her cousin Brian Kiptoo as a charming girl who freely mingled with people.

Her shocked parents were unable to talk to journalists on Tuesday.

When she did not return home on Saturday, a search party was assembled for her, with the fear that being a visitor, she may not have known her away around the small town, and was likely lost.

Imagining that she had been killed, and in such a brutal manner, was from the relatives' minds as they looked for her.

On Tuesday morning, a herder found her body near the NCPB stores, ending the three-day search, and with it, the beginning of mourning and search for justice.

Convinced that the police were not taking the matter seriously, angry protesters lit bonfires at the entrance of the police station after overpowering the officers.

For several hours, the protesters engaged police in running battles.

"All these people must go. We are being killed and the police are doing nothing," a resident said.

Defilement likely

Confirming the incident, Soy Sub County Police Commander Nehemiah Bittok said the girl might have been defiled before being murdered.

Mr Bittok said the decomposing body had injuries all over.

"We suspect the deceased was defiled before being murdered," said Mr Bittok.

He added that police have CCTV footage of a suspect in the company of the minor before she was reported missing.

He appealed to the public to be calm as investigations continue.

Jerono joins a growing list of people whose mutilated bodies have been found in the town in the past three years.

In January, 30 year-old David Mwiti was hit with a blunt object before his body was chopped up.

Mr Mwiti's death came just weeks after that of a guard whose body was also cut into pieces.

Before January, residents said, six people had been killed in similar fashion in less than three years, with ritual killings suspected.

In 2019, 21-year-old Emmah Wanyota, a student at Vera Beauty College in Eldoret, was murdered in the town, and her limbs cut off.

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