Rise in lovers’ killings raises alarm

Friday, August 13th, 2021 00:00 |
Family members carry the remains of Kiambu businessman Jonathan Mukundi Gachunga who committed suicide after allegedly fatally shooting his wife last week. He was buried yesterday at his home in Kanyoyi, Gatundu North constituency. Photo/PD/john ochieng

Zadock Angira and Robert Ochoro

Lying in a pool of blood after being stabbed several times by her boyfriend, a 22-year-old woman watched helplessly as his boyfriend hanged himself in the same house in Kangemi, Nairobi, on Wednesday evening.

Her screams attracted neighbours, who on realising that the door was locked from the inside, decided to break it.

Despite the aura of imminent death, the woman fought death to the end. And immediately neighbours accessed the house, she murmured to them, saying “huyu naye ananiua” (he is killing me), before she breathed her last.

Committed suicide

Dagoretti Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss Patrick Gikunda said since the death of both the woman and man, an inquest had been opened to establish what could have led to the tragedy.

“Investigations point to murder followed by suicide. The woman’s identity has not been released since detectives are yet to trace her relatives,” he said. 

Neighbours said the lady visited the man identified as Frank Asitwa (27) a day before the incident, but they could not tell what had transpired.

According to police reports, there is an increase in intimate partner killings, with more than 20 cases reported in the last few months.

In one of the cases on Wednesday night in Nakuru, a 10-year-old girl is the only witness in a case where her father stabbed her mother to death before escaping.

Another woman was stabbed by her boyfriend, who thinking he had killed her, took poison and died in Gucha sub-county, Kisii County, on Wednesday night.

Majority of those killed by their intimate partners were married and living together, according to data by the police.

In the Kisii incident, Richard Gitebe stabbed his girlfriend, Josephine Mogendi, several times and committed suicide thinking he had killed her in Ogembo town.

Kisii County Police Commander Francis Kooli said neighbours heard her cry and rushed her to Gucha Level 4 hospital and later transferred her to Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital (KTRH) where she is recuperating in a serious but stable condition.

“It was wrong for the deceased to stab the girl. We have, however, launched investigations and will conduct a post-mortem examination on the body,” Kooli told People Daily.

In the Nakuru case, police are looking for a matatu operator who allegedly killed his wife at Kiamunyeki-Tuinuane village in Nakuru North sub-county on Wednesday night.

Confirming the incident, the sub-county police commander Bernard Wamugunda said the suspect stabbed his wife in the back with a kitchen knife, killing her instantly.

Wamugunda said police recovered the murder weapon and have launched a manhunt for the suspect who fled after the incident.

The deceased’s name has been withheld until her next of kin is informed while the cause of the killing is yet to be established.

“So far the only eyewitness we have is the couple’s 10-year-old daughter. Because she is a minor, we are looking for witnesses who will corroborate the child’s statement,” Wamugunda said.

We suspect that the man was contemplating suicide because after accessing the house, we discovered a sisal rope fastened on a rafter on the front veranda,” said Moses Gichuru; a neighbour.

However, some neighbours claimed the couple’s differences had persisted for several days over an undisclosed domestic issue.

The body of the woman was moved to Nakuru Level 5 Teaching and Referral Hospital morgue.

The police boss expressed optimism that though the suspect had switched off his two mobile phones, detectives will soon smoke him out of his hideout.

National Crime and Research Centre most of these killings and violence are perpetrated by men who are in intimate partner relationships.

A number of contributory factors have been identified at individual, family, community and wider society levels.

Experts say economic and work stress can lead to such killings through feelings of low self-esteem and the need to reassert dominance to preserve status.

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