Drama as villagers forcibly bury terror victim while family members tussle
There was drama at Nyaribo village, in Nyeri county on Tuesday after residents interred the body one of the victims of the recent terror attack in Mandera while family members tussled in a six-hour standoff.
The body of Simon Mwangi, 34, was removed from Nyeri County Referral Hospital mortuary at 10am by his mother Mary Nyawira, who told morgue attendants that she was transferring it to a different facility.
The burial was scheduled for Wednesday at St Peter’s Cemetery in Nyeri town and all logistics had been taken care of by the government.
“I changed my mind and decided that I should not bury my son in a cemetery while my father has land and I’m entitled to inherit a share of it. I paid Sh4,000 for a hearse to ferry the coffin to my father’s home,” said Ms Nyawira.
Mr Mwangi was killed in Bishaaro hotel alongside 11 others, including his uncle John Gachango, 56, who was buried earlier in the day at his farm in the same village.
Residents got reports that Mr Mwangi’s remains were outside his grandfather’s home during Mr Gachango’s funeral service.
But his grandfather, Wang’ombe Kanyari, 86, refused to have his grandson buried on his land following domestic dispute with Ms Nyawira.
Her intention was to get audience with her ageing father, claiming that her siblings assaulted and chased her away from home in 2011 immediately after death of her mother.
“I have never been married and therefore I should get a share of his land. My mother had shown me a piece of land which currently lies idle. I buried my second born who died in 1996 on the same land and there was no dispute. I want dialogue,” she said.
The area Deputy County Commissioner John Marete, accompanied by a group of elders and clergymen, struggled to convince the old man who still declined.
At one point during the closed-door meeting, Ms Nyawira ran out of the house wailing and lay on her mother’s grave shouting that her father and siblings have rejected her.
She was controlled by other women who also prayed for her.
Mr Kanyari said Ms Nyawira together with the deceased had subjected him to a lot of pain claiming that he had taken care of all four of Ms Nyawira’s children.
Efforts by clan elders to convince the old man, who suffers from hearing impairment, to overturn his decision proved futile.
The elders tried in vain to convince him to forgive Ms Nyawira through traditional rituals.
At 4pm, hundreds of villagers who had camped outside the gate waiting for a solution stormed into the homestead and carried the coffin amid song and dance.
Meanwhile, several young men armed with jembes, mattocks and spades dug a six-foot grave and buried the body unceremoniously.
The irate members of the public later demolished the deceased’s semi-permanent one-bedroomed wooden house in the disputed land and placed it on top of the grave.
His age mates threw some packs of miraa and nuts into the grave claiming that he was a user of the commodities.