By Fred Kiva
BUKWO. Police in Bukwo district have arrested three suspects for beheading a reverend during hunt for cattle thieves.
According to a police statement, the three are part of a group of nine residents of Kapukorosoi village who participated in the lynching of Rev. Augustine Neto on October 29 in East Elgon Forest.
The residents purportedly mistook Rev Neto for a cattle thief as they responded to an alarm raised by the deceased’s colleagues over presence of cattle thieves in East Elgon Forest.
Police say that on the fateful day, Rev Neto, 43 and three others, all residents of Kapukorosoi Village had gone to the forest to check on their cattle, following reports that some people had come to steal the animals as they freely grazed.
“When they (Rev Neto and colleagues) reached the forest, they got the cattle thieves and three of Rev. Augustine’s colleagues started chasing them while making an alarm. The Reverend opted to drive the animals back home,” reads a police statement.
“The alarm his (Rev. Neto’s) colleagues made attracted nine local residents armed with machetes who responded and on entering the forest; they met the Reverend driving the cattle and mistook him to be a cattle thief. They started beating, striped him naked and cut off his head and hid it,” the Police statement further indicated.
The suspects only realized that they had killed an innocent person during a village meeting conducted later in the day when Rev. Neto’s colleagues returned from chasing the cattle thieves and narrated the whole ordeal.
“When the nine (murderers) realized that they had killed an innocent person, they started disappearing one by one,” the Police said.
The Police working with the locals have since been hunting for them and on Wednesday, three of them were netted and they confessed to the murder.
“The three suspects took Police to where they had hidden the head of the Reverend and it was recovered. The headless body was brought from Kitalein Kenya where it was in mortuary and joined together with the head,” the police explained.
The three suspects include; Alfred Chelop, Andrew Chesur and Peter Kiplungant. The Police hunt is on for the remaining six that participated in the murder.