On Monday morning, residents of Werugha woke up to a gruesome scene; the dismembered body of an unknown woman dumped by a roadside. Body parts including head, arms and legs were missing.
The initial shock and grief that engulfed the village slowly turned into unprecedented outrage that has called into question the efficacy of security operations put in place to weed out crimes and other forms of social ills that has dogged the Werugha rural society.
Although the security agencies managed to recover the missing body parts that were buried in a shallow grave and identify the victim of the grisly crime, the outrage from local residents shows no sign of abating.
If anything, it continues to spiral, drawing in women leaders who have turned their wrath at what appears to be negligence on the part of enforcement agencies.
In the neighboring Wesu village in the same area, a woman was found murdered inside her house by an unknown assailant. There are claims that she was raped before her murder. It is such acts that have triggered the ire of the women in the region as they demand for a permanent solution to cases of gender-based violence.
The County Women Representative Lydia Haika condemned the murder and called for immediate arrest of the killer. She stated that such vicious acts must be met with full force of the law stating that women will not rest until the culprit was apprehended.
“This murderer must be made to answer for his bestial acts. We will no longer sit back as women are violated and murdered,” she said.
Several women Members of County Assembly (MCAs) echoed her sentiments. They even threatened to mobilize other women in the region to stage a demonstration against insecurity in the region. They said that women bore the brunt of insecurity and needed to be assured of their safety.
The MCAs, mostly drawn from the County Assembly Committee on gender and culture, termed it as baffling that such crimes were happening during a time when curfew was in effect triggering questions on who was responsible.
Ms Rose Shingila, an MCA, said it was puzzling that the said crimes were committed at a time when no one but security agencies were supposed to be out.
“These criminal activities are taking place at night when people are indoors. Why should there criminals be allowed to roam outside yet police are on patrol?” she posed.
The MCAs further noted that in the last two months, Wundanyi town has been wracked by a spate of theft that targeted hotels and electronic shops. This, the leaders said, was an indicator on an urgent need to bolster security and arrest all culprits.
Ms Joyce Mwangonji, a nominated MCA, said that if the trend continued, the women would have no other choice but to demand the immediate removal of police bosses from the region.
“We feel insecure when such acts happen. The police have a duty to thwart crimes in this region or we will demand they be removed and be taken elsewhere,” she said.
The Deputy Governor Majala Mlaghui called upon the security organs to enhance surveillance in the region to curb such crimes. She said it was saddening that gender-based cases continued to be reported despite the efforts by county and other agencies to curb them.
She further urged the community to volunteer telling information about lawbreakers to help police arrest the wave of crime in the region.
“We must all help the police officers to get rid of crime in the region. This is only possible through giving of information about the lawbreakers in our midst,” she said.
However, security sources said the culprit associated with the murder had already been identified but had gone underground. Homicide Detectives are already pursuing him. The murder weapon and other items thought to have been used to commit the crime were also recovered. There are claims that the suspect, a Gardener, might have engaged in ritual murder.
Wundanyi DCI boss Richard Cheruiyot said detectives were establishing the motive of the murder. “We are pursuing the suspect who is on the run. He fled when he realized we are on his trail,” he said.
By Wagema Mwangi