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KDF officer arrested over murder of wife, children

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Three bodies believed to be of the estranged wife of a military officer and their two children who disappeared three weeks ago were Saturday evening found buried in a shallow grave at Thingithu Estate in Nanyuki.

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Military Police found the bodies after being led to the scene by the military man who is the main suspect in the suspected triple homicide. Major Peter Mwaura of Laikipia Airbase in Nanyuki was arrested on Thursday by military police and handed over to the DCI.

After more than 24 hours of grilling at Nanyuki Police Station and at his house inside the army barracks, the suspect led police to an abandoned cemetery in Thingithu Estate, barely a kilometre from the army base.

Still in a combat t-shirt, the army man led a team from the DCI and KDF officers to the spot the three bodies were buried.

After about 30 minutes of analysis and digging, police found three gunny bags in containing decomposing bodies which were tied up using plastic ropes inside the shallow grave.

All this time the suspect sat in the unmarked DCI vehicle, constantly trying to catch a glimpse of the discovery and hiding his face from cameras and the curious crowd.

Laikipia County Criminal Investigations Officer Peter Muinde declined to confirm if the bodies found were of the missing woman and her two children.

“We still have to do some more forensic tests to identify the bodies. A source led us to the scene and we are working to confirm if the bodies are of the missing woman and the two children,” Mr Muinde said.

Joyce Syombua, 31, and her children Shanice Maua, 10 and Prince Michael, 5 were reported missing on October 27 after spending two days at Major Mwaura’s home. They had arrived at the Laikipia barracks on October 25.

Ms Farizana Syombua, a relative of the missing woman told the Nation that she texted her to enquire about their journey to Nanyuki and she replied that all was well.

In a text message, Syombua informed Ms Farizana that Mr Mwaura had taken the children for a walk within the military base.

Mr Mwaura claimed that he had left the children with a friend because he wanted to have a private conversation with his estranged wife.

He had initially told the police that Ms Syombua left for Nairobi with the children in a matatu. He claimed that he released his family back to the base after being called in to work urgently.

He alleged that he took Syombua and the children to Nanyuki bus terminus where they boarded a 4NTE Sacco matatu to Nairobi.

The trio however never arrived at their home in Kayole, Nairobi, raising suspicion over their safety.

A report was initially made at Soweto and Nanyuki Police stations, prompting investigations into their disappearance of the three.

The discovery of her mobile phone inside a matatu would later open a can of worms into what is turning out to be a brutal triple homicide and a well calculated cover up.

Detectives would later discover that the matatu in which the phone was found never made a trip to Nairobi after all.

Officials from the sacco told police that the matatu had been hired for a private function in the Rift Valley on October 28 and did not make a trip to Nairobi as claimed by Major Mwaura.

A statement from a classified witness would later give the police the biggest lead. The witness told the police that the army officer had sent him to buy three gunny bags.

Major Mwaura was arrested on Thursday by Military Police before he was handed over to the DCI. The suspect will be arraigned on Monday.

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Man charged with murder of Kenyan during London party

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A 26-year-old man was on Thursday charged with last month’s murder of a Kenyan man in east London.

Randy Skuse, 27, was stabbed to death after a fight broke out during a birthday party at a friend’s house on Buckle Street, Whitechapel. A post-mortem report revealed Skuse, who worked at Britvic’s factory in Beckton, died from a single stab wound.

Three other men were stabbed during the chaos but their injuries were not life-threatening, according to Metropolitan Police.

Sahal Abi was arrested in Ipswich on Tuesday after an investigation by homicide detectives from Specialist Crime.

He was charged with the murder of Skuse and three other counts of wounding with intent.

Seven suspects were arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and attempted murder but four were released.

The other three men, aged 23, 24 and 29, were released on bail pending further investigations.

According to family and friends, Skuse had been laughing and joking minutes before he was stabbed.

His family has since described him as an “innocent soul” who had been acting as a “peacemaker” when he was killed in the flat.

Skuse’s mother Rahab Mugo told reporters that her son was attending the birthday party of a childhood friend on the fateful night.

“It wasn’t even a big party, the girl was turning 25 and she only invited 25 people,” Ms Mugo said.

Speaking to Barking and Dagenham Post, she said Skuse had just finished work at the factory where he worked as a supervisor at 10pm and left at around midnight.

She said her son got a lift to the party in a friend’s car to the party. Skuse was stabbed when a fight broke out in the morning. Ms Mugo said she was informed of her son’s death by a friend of Skuse’s.

“There were boys injured, a boy dead, boys in the police station and others still in the flat. The police told us to give our details and names of our children,” she said.

Ms Mugo said friends, family and neighbours and members of the Kenyan community have supported her following her son’s death.

“I keep hoping he’s going to come home. It’s hard. I still think I’m in a dream,” she said.

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Likoni tragedy: ‘Man received phone call from dead father’

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A bare chested John Mutinda stormed out of his house in Vanga Estate in Likoni, Mombasa County, at around 4am on Saturday, got into his vehicle and sped off.

Clad in a pair of shorts only, Mr Mutinda knocked down a motorcycle as he sped off towards the Likoni crossing channel before plunging into the ocean.

Mr Mbithi Matheka, a night guard who Mr Mutinda usually hired to watch over his car, a Toyota Allion, said the 46-year-old clearing and forwarding agent looked disturbed.

“He did not utter a word, he stared at us for some minutes before he got into the car and drove off at high speed,” said Mr Matheka.

Soon after leaving, his wife Ruth Mueni came out to inquire where her husband had gone.

A neighbour said that at around midnight, Ms Mueni had complained that her husband was behaving strangely.

“The wife was here complaining, but it was not clear what she was bitter about. She went back to the house, only for the incident to happen later,” said a neighbour.

According to Mr Mutinda’s relative, Benard Kieti, the victim told his wife that he had received a call from his late father before leaving the house in a huff.

“He was saying things that his wife could not comprehend when he left. The wife tried to stop him in vain,” said Mr Kieti who spoke on behalf of the family during an interview at the Likoni channel.

According to Kenya Ferry Services (KFS), Mr Mutinda drove straight into the sea at around 4.20am without paying for the ticket.

As he drove into the sea at high speed, he almost ran over a KFS official. At the time of the incident, the only ferry which was operational was on the Island side of the channel. The incident happened on the mainland side.

Soon after the incident, officers from the Kenya Navy and the Kenya Police Marine swung into action.

But it was not until 8am when Kenya Navy divers retrieved the body which was later taken to Jocham Hospital mortuary.

The vehicle was later pulled out of the ocean at around midday by technicians from the Southern Engineering Ltd.

The vehicle was lifted by a crane and put on Mv Kilindini before being towed to the Likoni Ferry Police Station.

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How star from Turkana ran away from poverty

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When he steps onto the starting line of the Honolulu Marathon in the scenic Hawaiian State capital on Sunday, Titus Ekiru will be making yet another major step towards greatness.

With Eliud Kipchoge and Geoffrey Kamworor having hogged the limelight with distance running records in recent weeks, Ekiru is hot on their heels.

But his story is quite different from that of Kipchoge and Kamworor, who both honed their skills on the global track and in cross country running before hitting the gold-paved roads.

A late bloomer, Ekiru, 27, went straight to the roads to literally run away from financial challenges in his family that saw him fail to go past primary school at Kosirai, Nandi County.

He had just done a few local 5,000 metres races in Nandi where he grew up after his family relocated from their home in Lodwar, Turkana County.

“I’d started running in school, but when life took a turn for the worse, I stopped schooling and looked for casual jobs to help make ends meet. I didn’t manage to finish my primary school education,” Kenya’s next big thing in marathon running narrates in an interview at the scenic Outrigger Reef on the Beach Hotel on Friday.

“But when my sister made a breakthrough in running, travelling abroad for races, I was encouraged to take up athletics more seriously, and that’s how I started training in 2009,” he narrates.

Urged on by his sister Margaret Akai – who won, among others, the 2012 Shanghai (two hours, 24 minutes and 17 seconds) and 2013 Daegu (2:23:28) marathons – Ekiru has since won four big marathons, in the process setting four course records on his travels in both full and half marathons.

Focused on making a living from athletics, Ekiru joined the Rosa Associati camp in Kaptagat at the end of 2013.

“But then I got injured. But this didn’t discourage me at all, as when I looked back at our poor family set-up, I gathered determination to make the breakthrough.”

His father, Nangiro Longole Kameto, was a casual labourer who struggled to feed his wife Mary and seven children – three boys and four girls.

“My dad focused on at least helping my elder sister (Margaret) complete her education, and when she started running, I was motivated to soldier on.

“I said since I was running as a child, athletics is something that I can make a living from, and that’s how I started focusing seriously in running.”

His first trip abroad was in 2014 to Milan where he picked up an injury.

“I spent 2014 to 2016 treating the injury while in camp after which I decided to dive straight into the full marathon.”

Ekiru’s reasoning was that rather than waste time trying out different distances, it was prudent to dive right in and focus on the 42 kilometres to earn a decent living and help his family.

His first marathon was in Casablanca, Morocco, running 2:15:43 for second place in 2016, a time he improved by exactly eight minutes in winning the Seville Marathon the following year.

Also in 2017, Ekiru made his Honolulu Marathon debut, finishing fourth (2:12:19).

“After Seville, I was actually scheduled to run in Milan, but while in Milan, I picked up a fracture while jogging so I didn’t race.

“I was treated at the camp back home and after recovering I ran in last year’s San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, winning in 61:02.”

In August last year, Ekiru won the Mexico City Marathon (2:10:38) before pacing Britain’s Mo Farah to victory at the Chicago Marathon in October.

And then he travelled to the middle of the Pacific Ocean again in December, winning the Honolulu Marathon in 2:09:01, threatening compatriot Lawrence Cherono’s course record of 2:08:27 set in 2017.

This season has been a fantastic one for Ekiru, who ran personal best times in both the half and full marathons.

He started off with brilliant pacemaking duties for the Lake Biwa Marathon in March where Morocco’s Salah-Eddine Bounasr won in 2:07:52.

The following month, he returned to Milan, winning the Milan Marathon in 2:04:46, his personal best over the distance and a course record.

Then in August, he won Kenya gold in the half marathon (61:42) at the African Games in Rabat before clocking a PB over the 21-kilometre distance (61:42) in October at the Lisbon Half Marathon.

He defends his Honolulu Marathon title Sunday with four course records under his belt – one in the half marathon in Lisbon and three in the marathon in Mexico, Seville and Milan.

Having come close to a fifth CR in Honolulu last year, despite the extremely windy conditions, Ekiru – who loves to attack from the front with his fluid, long and elegant strides – could most likely challenge Cherono’s mark today, given the experience he has gained over the last 12 months.

“I picked Honolulu because I told my manager I didn’t want to get into a very fast race at this point of my career,” the calculated Ekiru explains.

“I wanted a race that I can win in 2:08 or 2:09 so that I keep my reserves for the future.”

He will, finally, graduate to the rich World Marathon Majors circuit next year, the Tokyo Marathon on March 1 in his cross hairs.

Then he will hope for selection to Kenya’s team to the Tokyo Olympics, where the marathon races will actually be run in Sapporo City in the island of Hokkaido.

A calculated plan indeed for the meticulous man who even attempted eking out a career in football, turning out as a no-nonsense central defender for amateur club Kosirai FC in Nandi County as he juggled between sports and odd jobs to put bread on family’s table.

“If, by the will of God, I get selected for the Olympics, then it would be my next big race after the Tokyo Marathon,” he anticipates.

In fact, he was hopeful of a place in Kenya’s team to the World Championships in Doha last October but was overlooked by selectors.

But if there’s anyone who has the possibility of running Kipchoge close, then it’s Ekiru.

“I actually prepared a lot in anticipation of the Doha championships, but they told me to go for the African Games wait.

“After I won the African Games title, I went back into training for Doha, but when I wasn’t selected, then I shifted my plans to this race in Honolulu.”

On Tokyo’s course next March, Ekiru will be looking to improve his PB and keep knocking on selectors’ doors.

With a fledgling career slowly rising to a crescendo, Ekiru, who dropped out of primary school due to poverty has managed to turn things around, and his wife Daisy Cherotich, also a runner, and one-year-old son Rian Kiptum, now celebrate decent lives.

Ekiru currently trains under coach Lawrence Saina in Kapsabet at the Stanley Biwott camp, his training partners including Biwott himself, a former champion at the Paris and New York marathons.

Others in the group include two-time Tokyo winner Dickson Chumba, Rotterdam course record holder Marius Kipserem and Reuben Kipyego, the pacemaker who famously won Friday’s Abu Dhabi Marathon.

Ekiru has enormous respect for Kipchoge, and, just like the world record holder, maintains discipline is important in a running career, urging athletes to resist the temptation of using banned performance-enhancing substances.

So what would happen should he be selected to the Olympic team?

“I know mzee (Kipchoge) will be there, but it all’s God’s plan. Eliud is experienced and we are just coming up,” he sums it up in typically modest fashion.

But he has already joined the league of 1988 Olympic 800 metres champion Paul Ereng, 2010 Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist John Kelai and Wilson Erupe, who has clocked six sub-2:09 times in the marathon, as one of Turkana’s finest sporting exports.

Most certainly, an Olympic gold will see him head and shoulders above the rest and make him Turkana’s most successful athlete.

But he has the small matter of Eliud Kipchoge to deal with. Anyway, Sunday’s Honolulu Marathon is in immediate focus.

And with the weather predicted to be better than last year, I see another course record added onto the 27-year-old’s CV when the race starts off along the Ala Moana Boulevard, snaking through Waikiki, Diamond Head, Kahala onto the finish at Kapiolani Park.

The race starts at 5am, local time, which will be 6pm Kenyan time as the Honolulu clock is a massive 13 hours behind Nairobi time.

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