- Taking the law in their own hands, the villagers concluded the four had bewitched a Form Two student into losing his ability to speak.
Police in Marani, Kisii County, are holding four suspects over their involvement in lynching of four women said to have been practising witchcraft.
The four women were lynched in Bomokona village yesterday afternoon.
Marani Sub County Deputy County Commissioner Patrick Muriira says the four will be charged in court over murder and incitement. A blood-thirst mob cornered the four women – all aged over 70 years- and accused them of bewitching a Form Two student.
The student reportedly lost his ability to speak as a result. Villagers from the area where sorcery is widely-practiced concluded that the student had been bewitched. They embarked on a hunt for the culprits, wearing anger on their sleeves.
Meanwhile, the student suddenly regained his voice and identified the four grannies. Villagers descended upon their homesteads one by one, beating them into a pulp before lynching them.
Images of one of the masterminds holding an axe to one of the granny’s face just moments before the lynching have been widely shared on social media. Kenyans have called on the police to clamp down hard on the mob practise.
“We can’t have a society that believes in witchcraft and mob justice. The law must be applied accordingly,” Commissioner Muriira said.
Kisii and Nyamira counties are under the stranglehold of retrospective customs where every ailment/misfortune disintegrates into calumny directed at old people, women especially. No counties for old women.
Last December, a civil society organization working in the region raised alarm over these killings. “The killings have lately become spontaneous and we are now witnessing a rare pattern where idle youth ransack homesteads, select old people and torch them in their houses,” said Ruth Manoti, Director Seeds of Hope.