The Kianjokoma brothers murder trial kicked off yesterday with the first witness taking the stand, narrating the last moments of the two siblings.
John Njeru, a childhood friend of the late Benson Njiru Ndwiga (22) and Emmanuel Mutura Ndwiga (19), was in the company of the duo on the night they met their deaths on Sunday 1, 2021.
The brothers were found dead after being arrested by police officers attached to Manyatta Police Station, for defying the 10 pm to 4 am curfew in the Kianjokoma shopping center, Embu County.
Njeru was the first witness to testify against six cops from the station charged with the murder of the two brothers.
The officers are Benson Mputhia, Consolata Kariuki, Nicholas Cheruyoit, Martin Wanyama, Lilian Chemuna and James Mwaniki.
In a chilling tale, Njeru told the court that he was at a playstation shop within Kianjokoma when Benson called him, requesting a meeting. He said he had something he wanted to tell him.
The friends later met after Benson and Emmanuel closed their pork butchery. They met outside the play station. Njeru said he was also in the company of another friend he identified as Chris Dan.
“We were the four of us. We walked through Kianjokoma town then I brought up the idea that we go have drinks but the two brothers declined, saying they didn’t want a hangover,” Njeru said.
The four later proceeded to Mwamuri Club where they had a good time. He, however, said the two brothers, who were in high spirits, didn’t take any alcohol.
“At around 9.17pm Ben said it was getting late and their mother even called them. We left the place at around 10.01pm,” he said.
The court heard that they used a backstreet on their way home. Before they could go far they saw a police vehicle and there was a man standing outside the vehicle in civilian clothes while another was holding a huge stick.
Apparently, Benson suggested that they should all run. The four friends started running but unfortunately, Emmanuel tripped and fell.
“Ben told him [Emmanuel] to keep running. Alisema achana na viatu wewe hepa [He told him to escape and not mind the shoes],” he added.
Benson stopped shortly after and went back to check on his brother.
Njeru told the court that found a hiding place in a ditch after realizing that the two people were still pursuing him.
He told the court that he heard someone being beaten and thought it was Benson. When he peeped, he saw him being bundled into the police vehicle.
He later used another route home but couldn’t reach the two brothers on phone.
It was not until the following day that he learnt the duo was missing.
“The following day I found missed calls from their dad and I called him back. He was asking if I was still with Benson and Emmanuel,” Njeru told the court.
Njeru teamed up with Chris and the family and launched a search for the two and were devastated when they learnt that the brothers were no more.
He said they looked for the siblings at the Manyatta Police Station, but did not find them.
“We planned with Chris to go to Embu to look for them but when we got to Kianjakoma town we [stumbled upon] rumours that our friends had passed on,” Njeru said.
The bodies of the brothers were found at Embu Level 5 Hospital morgue on a Tuesday, August 3, two days after they went missing.
Njeru was cross-examined by the suspects’ lawyer Danstan Omari.
When asked by the advocate why he did not go to his friends’ house that night or phone their parents to tell them what had transpired, Njeru said he had no idea what would happen.
The officers charged with the murder of the duo say that the brothers jumped out of a moving police vehicle while being taken to custody.
An autopsy examination conducted at Embu Level V Hospital morgue revealed that the two brothers died as a result of multiple injuries which could have been caused by a blunt force trauma.
Benson was a student at Kabarak University while his younger brother was studying at Don Bosco Technology Training Institute Karen in Nairobi.