Kenya: Who is Killing Elderly Women in Naivasha and Gilgil?

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On Saturday evening last week, an 85-year-old woman was killed in the Kasamabala area of Gilgil by an unknown assailant.

The elderly woman lived alone and, preliminary police investigations show, she was killed by a lone attacker.

The assailant is said to have entered the woman’s unlocked house after the octogenarian went to a nearby kitchen garden to harvest kales.

“The woman returned as the thug was ransacking the house, and upon spotting her, he attacked the defenceless owner, who died on the spot,” said Gilgil Sub-County Deputy Police Commander Henry Mbogo.

“He hit the woman in the back of the head with a sledgehammer,” he said.

The killer, who police believe was known to the woman, is still at large.

“We suspect he hailed from the vicinity and might have committed murder fearing she would blow his cover,” Mr Mbogo said.

Read: Alarm as brutal gangs target university students in Kakamega

Sexual assault

The latest incident has brought to the fore the vulnerability of elderly women living alone in Naivasha and Gilgil, Nakuru County.

Danger lurks in the backyards, with assailants isolating the women and striking with ease.

A senior detective linked the multiple attacks to young men seeking money and targets for sexual assault.

“The elderly woman was well-off by any standards and it was apparent the gangster had been stealing money from her until the fatal encounter,” Mr Mbogo said.

The homicide toll among women above age 60 has reached three in the two sub-counties since March.

In a Naivasha incident that occurred in March, an 80-year-old woman was raped and killed in Ihindu, on the outskirts of Naivasha town.

The woman, said resident John Njehu at the time, was accosted by her assailant as she prepared the evening meal.

Hacked to death

The victim, he added, was forced back into her bedroom, where she was raped before being killed.

“The food she was preparing was still on the jiko when we visited the scene. It seems she was attacked while in the kitchen,” he said.

The woman was alone in the house at the time of the incident, he said, as her two children did not live with her.

The incident angered locals, who accused police of laxity, saying cases of insecurity were on the rise.

“We have complained several times to the police about rampant cases of bhang smoking and substance abuse but no action has been taken,” Mr Njehu said.

In the same area in April, a 60-year-old woman was killed when a lone attacker raided her home.

She was also raped before she was hacked to death.

Murder incidents

Sub-County Police Commander Samuel Waweru said the victim was hit with a blunt object in the back of her head.

“We are yet to establish the motive of the killing, with the attackers also having stolen a TV set and a gas cooker,” he said.

Crimebusters are now burning the midnight oil, piecing together intelligence reports that will aid their investigations.

All the victims of the latest attacks lived alone, making it easy for criminals preying on elderly women to strike.

“If you look at the pattern, all the victims were alone when they were attacked,” said a senior police officer.

The head of the Naivasha office of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Adan Hassan, said police had arrested suspects linked to the Ihindu incident and arraigned them.

“We have an active court case against the suspects of the two murder incidents,” he stated.

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