Widows Recount Painful Memories In Court How Their Husbands Were Killed By KDF Officers


Bungoma high court has resumed the hearing of a case in which 18 widows from Mt Elgon have sued the government over the murder of their husbands allegedly by Kenya Defence Force.

During the cross examination the widows narrated how their husbands were picked from their, bundled into the military trucks and were never to be seen again up to date.

The military had been deployed to Mt. Elgon region in 2008 to flush out the rag tag militia Sabaot Land Defense Force in an operation dubbed ‘Okoa Maisha’ which saw its ring leader Wycliffe Matwakei killed.

The Case which had been filed by widows backed by Kenya National Human Rights Watch, had stalled for over a year after KDF filed a petition to stop the case.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights deputy director Victor Kamau stated that the case has resumed after the court disposed off the case in which KDF wanted the case thrown out in what it claimed as lack of weight and merit.

“I hope the case will be expedited so that these woman can be compensated, they have suffered for long, we want to see their tears wiped out,” said Kamau.

He pointed out that majority of never buried their husbands since they were arrested on allegation of being members of the outlawed SLDF and have never been seen again.

Bungoma high court judge Stephen Riech and is the one hearing the case while the special attorney a Mr.Yator represents the office of director of public prosecution.

The windows were represented by their lawyer Andrew Kituyi who is optimistic that the case will be expedited so that justice can be realized for his client.

“They have been traumatized, rejected, chased out if their matrimonial homes and some suffered from depression since their husbands disappeared over 12 years, let just be their shield,” he said.

The windows majority from Kamarang, Kabero, Toroso in Cheptais Sub County narrated how KDF officers waylaid their husbands, arrested and took them to Kapkota military camp where they were tortured before their bodies were dumped at Meza area in Mt Elgon forest.

Mary Temko recounted how her husband James Kirui Warsama was rounded up with his friends, taken to Kapkota military camp and has never been seen again.

“Many men were arrested alongside my husband but i can’t recall their names. Others were later released but my husband has never been seen again,” she told the court. 

Lilian Temko a mother of five from Kabero village and whose husband Stephen Chesoli was picked by military officers and never to be seen again told the court how she saw everything happening which is very fresh in her mind.

“What we need is justice to be dispensed, we know we can’t see nor hear from our husbands but the monetary compensation can at least help us raise our young children,” she said.


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