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Human Rights activist calls on DCI chief Amin to take lead in Marsabit femicide inquiry

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The activist said DCI should take over the femicide case and order the suspects arrested for the offence to ensure justice for the victims' families.

The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Mohamed Amin has been asked to personally take over ongoing investigations into the February killing of a 60-year-old woman in Kargi area, Marsabit County on suspicion of practising witchcraft.

Margaret Esimonte, a Miraa trader, was attacked by unknown criminals on February 18 at around 1 am while sleeping at their grass-thatched house. The criminals woke her up, smoked her out of the house and beat her up with crude weapons, leaving her lying unconscious.

She died hours later while receiving treatment at a local health facility with the incident happening while the husband was at their son's home in Marsabit town, kilometres away.

The criminals also seriously injured and sexually assaulted another woman, whom they found sleeping outside her house due to the high temperatures experienced in the area.

Executive Director of the Defenders Coalition, Kamau Ngugi, expressed concern over the slow pace of investigations, recently taken up by the Marsabit County Criminal Investigations Office, and delays by authorities in arresting and prosecuting the criminals.

The activist said DCI should take over the femicide case and order the suspects arrested for the offence to ensure justice for the victims' families.

"He (DCI) should investigate why his officers (at the ground) are hesitant to arrest the criminals and demonstrate to Kenyans that his office is ready to protect women and other Kenyans from any harm," Ngugi said.

He said slackness by the officers handling the case could make other women lose confidence in the justice system and shun reporting crimes meted on them.

Local detectives visited the village a fortnight ago and recorded statements from the area chief and three residents.

A section of the residents reported seeing some of the youths (Morans) suspected to have been part of the group that committed the crime roaming freely.

"They (criminals) are known but no action has been taken against them. It is like they are enjoying protection from someone," a resident who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter claimed.

One of the criminals is said to be a relative of a local politician who is hellbent on defeating justice.

Esimonte's killing and attack on the other woman follow an incident where a woman in the village sought to know the cause of her family's misfortune from a 'medicine man' in Loiyangalani.

She had allegedly lost her husband in an accident several years ago before her son later sustained life-threatening injuries in another accident.

In the company of two men, she sought help from the man who directed her to the home of the two women in the village.

After returning to Kargi, the three are said to have tasked a group of Morans to unleash terror on the two women at night.

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