Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers have been put on the spot over the death of a 30-year-old herder who was found in possession of four red cedar posts at the Suswa crater on Friday, July 21, 2023.
The death of the father of one sparked angry protests from residents who stormed the Duka Moja police post to demand answers, issuing a 24-hour ultimatum to the police to arrest the KWS officers who they accuse of killing the herder.
Narok East leaders and residents claim the KWS rangers who were on patrol at the Suswa escarpment conservancy first tortured the victim, inflicting him with serious injuries before rushing him to Narok referral hospital where he died on arrival.
Area Member of Parliament Lemanken Aramat led the residents to Duka Moja police station to protest the killing and demanded immediate investigations into the incident.
Aramat, accompanied by John Saruni (Narok East politician), Lemiso Kimiti (Keekonyokie MCA), Kaangi Kisotu (Suswa ward MCA) and local chiefs, addressed residents at the station calling for calm to allow police to carry out investigations.
A police report at the station, OB 04/21/07/2023 at 1720hrs, reported by KWS officers led by Cpl David Onyango stationed at Mosiro within the Ntulele area, indicated that while they were patrolling within Mount Suswa they met a young man who was in possession of four red cedar posts, a panga and a torch.
“Immediately when he saw the officers he started fleeing whereby he fell into a deep cliff and sustained serious head injuries. The officers immediately rescued the man whose name is Kamakai Kaleke - a Maasai male adult aged 30 years,” said Narok county police boss Kizito Mutoro.
Mutoro said the KWS officers reported that they contacted an ambulance that took the herder to Narok County Referral Hospital for medical attention but unfortunately succumbed to the injuries and was taken to the same hospital mortuary awaiting postmortem.
But the area MP and the leaders differed with the police report and demanded thorough investigations on how the man who was arrested by KWS rangers at 9 am died under mysterious circumstances at 3 pm on arrival to the Narok referral Hospital more than 40 kilometres away.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions which we want the police to unravel, what was happening between 9 am in the morning and 3 pm in the evening when the man was taken to Narok referral Hospital where he succumbed on arrival,” the Narok East MP said.
Aramat said the case is the second in the area after the killing of two pastors by KWS three years ago and the bodies of two women found dumped at Kidong ranch early this month.
He decried the increasing cases of extrajudicial killings allegedly perpetrated by KWS officers.
“We also call on the police to establish what KWS were doing at the Suswa nature conservancy which is not a gazetted area and why were they following on issues of illegal logging which is not under their mandate,” the MP added.
Joshua Kaleke, a relative to the deceased, said a vehicle belonging to KWS was seen carrying one person and the cider posts and after following up they learned that one of their kin was arrested and taken to Narok.
“We actually thought he was arrested and taken to Narok police station but after following up on the matter, we were told he was taken to Narok referral hospital and had died,” Kaleke said.