NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 13 – This week’s killing of four young men lynched on suspicion of being cattle thieves in Kitengela has sparked outrage on social media, coming just a week after two brothers were killed in Embu after being arrested by police.
In the Kitengela incident, the debate is whether the youth are being targeted, and why. Many are asking if it is a crime to be young and with dreadlocks.
So one cannot walk in the streets peacefully because of dreadlocks? This is disheartening. It’s annoying how young people are judged by the way they look or dress. Love to their families and friends❤️ pic.twitter.com/M3DTUuBSUR
— Rash (@Rashousmane) August 13, 2021
In Kitengela, Fred Mureithi, 30, his younger brother Victor Mwangi who was celebrating his 25th birthday, and their two cousins Mike George, 29, and Nicholas Musa, 28 were brutally murdered on Sunday night in mistaken identity.
They are reported to have gone to Kitengela to visit a relative for a housewarming party and to celebrate the birthday of one of them.
According to police quoting witnesses reports, the four were attacked near a river around Kisaju area at 6pm, as they looked for a kiosk to buy food.
“Area residents had been complaining of losing cattle to thieves and when some people confronted the young men, there was a confrontation and they accused them of being thieves, that is how they were killed,” a police officer said, “they were speared to death.” They had parked their three motorcycles on the roadside.
The incident at Enkamulyat area, about 14 kilometers from Kitengela town has opened a new debate, particularly because they had dreadlocks.
Before they were killed, the four are said to have visited George’s sister for a housewarming party before they left to look for chicken.
People who know them say they all reside in Nairobi.
“We have launched an investigation and a search for those involved is ongoing,” Muthuri Mwongera, police chief for Kajiado County, “they were lynched yet there was no complaint from anyone that they had stolen.”
One of those lynched is said to have been running a graphic design shop in Nairobi while another was running a cyber.
Their killing followed that of Embu brothers Benson Njiru and Emmanuel Mutura who died in the hands of police officers after an arrest during night curfew.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has assured the family of justice.
Local leaders have mounted pressure to have the officers involved arrested and prosecuted, but Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai says that can only happen once investigations are completed.
“Two senior officers in that area have been transferred to pave way for investigations and I assure the public that the family will get justice,” he said.
The two brothers were buried in an emotional ceremony Friday, during which Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi demanded justice.