Eldoret church massacre suspects freed

Kenya’s high court on Thursday threw out the case against four men over tribal violence in which at least 33 people were burnt alive in a church during last year’s post-election chaos.The ruling brought to a close the only case in which citizens have been charged with murder in connection with the violence that left around 1,500 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.At least 33 civilians, including women and children, died when marauding militias set fire to the Kenya Assemblies of God church in the northern city of Eldoret, where they were sheltering from the clashes.The deaths took place on 1 January, 2008, and four suspects were charged two months later but Justice David Maraga said he had to drop the case, citing lack of evidence and shoddy police investigations.amnesty

“I find that the prosecution (has) failed to prove the burden of the case against the accused persons and thereby acquit them of all the charges and order that they be set free,” he said.”This was obviously a well planned and orchestrated attack and as such I was amazed to find no whiff of common intention on the part of the accused or the planning that went into the attack,” he said.”The events preceding the commission of this offence cannot have eluded the police as clouds for the gathering storm were there for all to see,” he said, reading a 45-page ruling.”I am not a politician but I am only a judge and a Kenyan who is just as outraged at the casual manner in which we are handling serious issues like insecurity in this country and by the attitude of our police force in the face of serious crime,” Maraga added.

Eldoret is in the Rift Valley of Kenya, which saw the worst tribal violence following the dispute that erupted when irregularities in the December 2007 presidential poll prompted accusations that then opposition leader Raila Odinga was robbed of victory by incumbent President Mwai Kibaki.Three days after the election, on December 30, hundreds of civilians were driven from their homes by militias, according to evidence presented in court.Some who had found refuge in the church were attacked by more than 1,000 men, who had painted their faces with chalk and were armed with bows and arrows, machetes, clubs and other weapons.The mob lit up mattresses inside the church and then blocked the door to prevent the displaced from escaping the fire. The State dropped incitement charges against Kibor

*Gathara cartoons

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6 thoughts on “Eldoret church massacre suspects freed

  1. The acquittal of the four suspects is not surprising because the police thoroughly messed up the investigation. The police did not present any credible evidence linking the suspects with the murder. Infact, at one point, it was reported that a person whom the police had identified as a suspect had died long before the post election violence. Others were brought to court simply because their homes were close to Kiambaa. In as much as we want justice for the Kiambaa church victims, it would not be right to punish the innocent.

  2. Godfrey, its not even about the four suspects.Was the police investigation of jackson kibor also faulty since his case was also dropped.

  3. The Kenya Police lack the will and capacity to prosecute cases of political violence.

    The police investigation of Jackson Kibor was dropped purely for political reasons. Everybody in the Rift Valley knows on who’s behalf Kibor was acting for. The man was even quoted on BBC radio admitting involvement in the clashes. I heard the interview myself and I couldn’t beleive the sheer audacity. The police simply were not interested in prosecuting Kibor. The four acquitted suspects charged with the Kiambaa massacres simply happened to be poor families that do not have the financial and political clout of Kibor, hence their arrest. But even in that case, the police were not serious.

    There’s a story in the Standard talking about the lack of interest by police in ongoing land invasions targetting white farmers in the Rift Valley. Clearly, politicians are involved and that’s why the police are looking the other way.

  4. Pingback: Appeasement Of Anti-Kikuyus Will Never Work « Muigwithania 2.0

  5. in as much we want justice for the victims we must realize that no war fought outside the spirit of war will ever succeed.the problem is not ruto,kibaki ,kalenjin or kikuyu but the history of injustice which must be addressed.soon you will hear of a revolution within the kalenjin masses against the rich which is happening now in central Kenya.can somebody answer me where is seroney,jm,ouko,pinto and the rest.but there dreams are alive.
    building a monument in the church will forever show a victory to one community for the killed.please let us be human first,kikuyu or kale second and kenyan third.don’t take me out of context i know the colonialist planted the seed of hatred by branding various names to various communities.who won the elections?the answer a Kenyan.

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