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Octogenarian killed as grandchild watches

An 88- year-old woman has been killed by unknown people as her grandchild watched helplessly in Kwale County.
Police identified the victim as Umazi Nyanje Wagoni who was hacked to death while having a meal with her granddaughter Mlongo Mwatemo at home at Chikwakwani village, Mtaa sub-location in Kinango Sub-county.
There has been fresh outcry over a wave of killings of grey-haired elders in the region over witchcraft claims with authorities admitting the cause of the crime was unclear and perplexing.
Police records show that at least 42 elderly people have been killed since January, 2018 in mysterious circumstances.
According to the police, the incident was reported to them by the local Assistant Chief, Jonathan Kombe after which they visited the scene of the crime.
The body of the deceased had deep cuts on the head which were inflicted with a sharp object, according to the County Commissioner, Mr. Karuku Ngumo who confirmed the incident.
Mr. Ngumo said the granddaughter informed the police that while they were eating together with the grandmother, three unknown people stormed the house and started attacking the deceased with a panga.
“The motive of the killing is unknown but investigations have commenced,” said the administrator, who is also the chairman of the County Security Committee.
He added that the body was taken to Kinango Sub-County Hospital mortuary for postmortem examination.
Mr. Ngumo strongly condemned the killing of elderly people and urged all leaders to join hands in sensitizing communities against the inhuman and retrogressive trend.
Kinanago and Lunga Lunga Sub-counties are not only the most marginalized, but the hardest hit by the vice that has left both locals and security agencies in a dilemma.
Interviews with locals reveal that in most cases, relatives are behind most of the murders while killer gangs are hired to execute them.
The crime is mostly in rural areas, where superstition is rife and people conveniently blame witches for illnesses and calamity.
Police say a month hardly passes without reports of murders linked to witchcraft. This has forced some elderly people to go into hiding as locals hunt them down like animals.
There has been alarming rise in the killings on allegations that the victims are witches without any proof yet investigations, so far, point to land grabbing as the reason for the violence.
Ngumo said many of the cases involved desperate young men who want to inherit their parents’ property through unorthodox means.
The administrator said prosecution of the murder cases has been complicated by conspiracy among relatives who hatch cover-ups.
By Shaban Omar/James Muchai

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