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Suspected cattle thieves narrowly escape death as car ferrying stolen meat is torched

Angry residents of Mbaruk area along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway on Friday set ablaze a motor vehicle they suspected was being used to ferry stolen cattle.

The irate locals who had received a tip-off about the Thursday morning theft, pursued the Toyota probox as the occupants, who are suspected of stealing two cows, attempted to flee.

When the car got stuck in the mud, the locals promptly set it ablaze, but not before sharing the meat amongst themselves.

Police who responded to the incident had to shoot in the air to disperse the crowd even as the occupants of the car fled before the locals could pounce on them.

According to eye witnesses, the residents found two cows which had been skinned and beheaded before they were bundled into the Toyota Probox.

Gilgil deputy county commissioner, Mr Ndambuki Muthike said, the frustrated residents resorted to mob justice due to increased cases of cattle theft in the area.

ARREST CULPRITS

He said a number of homesteads have in the past weeks been raided and cattle stolen.

“We have received several reports of cattle theft from this region and neighbouring areas. It is unfortunate because the thieves might be selling the meat to local butcheries or in other counties. Security agencies are working with locals to uncover similar crimes,” Mr Muthike said.

Mr Muthike said that police are determined to arrest culprits and prosecute them.

Car-Meat-II
Pieces of meat found in the boot of the car which was later set ablaze. PHOTO | JOYCE MWIHAKI

“We already have two suspects in custody. We are interrogating them and we hope they will help us apprehend more others. We want to curb such thefts,” Mr Muthike told the Nation.

He added that the police have launched investigations to establish who the owner of the motor vehicle is.

According to one resident by the name Mr Joseph Karanja, the car got stuck in the mud before the locals burnt it down.

CATTLE THEFT

“When the thieves took off when they saw the mob approaching them. We tried to catch up with them but they got away,” said Mr Karanja.

According to Mr Karanja the residents decided to burn the car to teach the thieves a lesson.

“We have suffered under the hands of these thieves for long. Many of our cows have been stolen. We hope today’s incident will scare them away,” Mr Karanja added.

Area Member of County Assembly Samuel Kariuki condemned the incident, saying majority of the villagers depended on their livestock for a living and that such thefts are a big setback to the peasants.

“We are doing everything we can to make sure justice is served,” said Mr Kariuki.

The incident comes in the wake of soaring cases of cattle theft in Gilgil and Naivasha.