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Independent Sleuths to Probe journalist’s Killing

Investigations into the murder of a Siaya journalist will be handled by an independent team of detectives from the county headquarters, Siaya County Police Commander, Francis Kooli has said.

Kooli said he had ordered the transfer of investigations into the death of The Star Newspaper Reporter Eric Oloo from Ugunja to the county criminal investigations headquarters in Siaya since one of the suspects connected with the incident, Chief Inspector Sabina Kerubo, was an officer based at Ugunja police station.

The late Oloo, aged 41 years, was found dead with injuries on his head inside the bedroom of  Chief inspector Kerubo’s rented house at Nyabeda, a few metres from the Ugunja police station. The two were living as man and wife and had been together for the last two years, family sources revealed.

Kooli said that as part of the efforts to dig out the truth into the suspected murder, all the suspects, amongst them the senior police officer, have been transferred to Siaya for interrogation.

He assured the family and friends of the late scribe that he will do everything possible to dig out the truth and bring those who had a hand in his murder to book.

“One of the suspects is our officer based here in Ugunja and it will only be good if the investigations are carried out on a neutral ground,” he said. “I have already ordered the case to be handled at the county CID office and all the suspects are being transferred there” added the police boss who at the same time sent a message of condolences to the family of the deceased.

News of the death of the journalist spread like bush fire as members of the public joined scribes from Siaya and Kisumu counties who had thronged the Ugunja police station to demand for justice.

Earlier, there was drama when police officers raided a chang’aa den to arrest the Chief Inspector of Police who is one of the prime suspects into the murder.

The officers riding in an unmarked pick up belonging to the local CID office, left the Ugunja police station in a huff, minutes after the area Sub County Police Commander, Ibrahim Muchuma had told the media that the lady has been locked up and was being interrogated.

When the media got wind, they followed the policemen, only to witness them flushing her out of a chang’aa den next to Nyasanda Primary School, barely 200 metres from the police station.

She was driven to the police station and later taken to her house in Nyabeda village about a half a kilometre away, where a blood soaked  T- shirt belonging to Oloo was found.

A house help, Joyce Awuor, 38 years, said  the late Oloo and Kerubo were in the bedroom when two men, Victor Ogola Luta and his brother knocked the door at around 9pm.

Awuor said that immediately they were ushered in, they went straight to the bedroom and started beating up the journalist, demanding to know what he was doing there.

“They beat him while demanding that he leaves,” she said adding that all through, the Chief Inspector who had come earlier while drunk was asleep.

Awuor said that the scuffle was to continue for some time, before Kerubo shouted that she did not want people fighting in her house and ordered them out.

She said a commotion ensued as the two brothers dragged the journalist out of the house, beating him with crude objects.

At this point, the officer, who she added was drunk, ordered the trio out saying she did not want a fracas in the house.

The two brothers, she said, dragged the journalist out and placed him next to a wall by the gate where they went on clobbering him.

Awuor said that the two were later to go back to the house at around midnight with the scribe in tow.

“All was quiet until around 1 am when I again heard commotions,” she said adding that when she checked, she saw Victor wiping blood from the late journalist using warm water.

The landlord of the police officer, Moses Ochieng, told the press outside the station that Chief Inspector had contacted him to help take his husband, whom she said was not feeling well, to hospital.

Ochieng said that when he went to the house, he found the journalist lifeless and told the officer to call her colleagues to handle the matter.

“The man had died and I refused to carry him,” he said adding that the officer was hesitant.

Ochieng said he personally decided to call the local Officer Commanding Station and explained what had occurred.

The sub county commander said the body of the deceased journalist was retrieved from the officer’s bedroom adding that amongst those arrested was the officer’s daughter, the caterer (Victor) and the house help.

Eric Oloo began his career in journalism in 2005 as an intern at the Kenya News Agency office in Siaya.

He later worked for the Nation Media group before joining The Star newspaper.

His stint in journalism was not without hiccups, as he occasionally rubbed local leaders the wrong way.

In one incident, he was given a thorough beating by Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga in 2013 for alleged bad reporting. The matter, which was reported at Siaya police station, was later settled out of court.

And two years ago, as the country geared towards the general elections, Oloo was also roughed up and beaten by goons during  an Orange Democratic Movement rally at Mwer Trading centre in Siaya.

He was forced to flee and seek refuge at a homestead in the village, before his colleagues came to his rescue and sneaked him out of the vicinity of the youths who had accused him of writing negative stories about local political leaders.

His body lies at the Ambira sub county hospital mortuary, awaiting a post mortem examination.

By Philip Onyango.

 

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