MERU, September 15 – A chief in Mikumbune village, Imenti South District was beaten to death and his body burnt on Sunday after he allegedly stole a chicken.,
A crowd of close to 50 men set on Fredrick Kimathi Mburugu, 48, and a young man accused of being his accomplice, after the ‘missing’ bird was found in the chief’s homestead.
The lynching took place outside Nkeuni Girls’ Secondary School.
Meru Central deputy police boss Joshua Lutukai said the fiasco began when area residents nabbed the chief’s alleged accomplice – George Gitonga, 25 – who allegedly confessed to have taken the chicken to the chief’s home.
“About eight men frog-marched Gitonga to the chief’s residence on Sunday afternoon and asked the administrator to accompany them to the Nkubu Police Station, where they claimed they were taking the man after a citizen’s arrest,” Lutukai said.
While on board a matatu to the station, the eight ordered the driver to stop, about one kilometre into the journey.
Another group of about 40 men then appeared on the scene and began beating up the chief and the younger man. They then doused the chief’s body in petrol and set him on fire. They were about to mete the same ‘justice’ to the alleged accomplice when the police arrived and averted his lynching.
“We could not save the chief because he died before we arrived,” Lutukai stated.
Lutukai said police rounded up 36 suspects, including the owner of the chicken, and were holding them at the Nkubu Police Station.
The ‘accomplice’ has been admitted to the Meru District Hospital where a doctor said he was in a critical condition.
Imenti South District Commissioner Paul Wanyanga condemned the incident and decried the increasing cases of lynching.