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Lone gunman murders judicial employee in cold blood in Migori

An unknown gunman killed a senior employee of the Migori courts on her way to work on 5 May 2023.

The shooting of Ms Phoebe Auma, a senior clerk at the Migori courts until her death, has left judicial officers and staff in fear.

Following the bizarre killing of Ms Auma, the President of the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association (KMJA), Derrick Kuto, called for a thorough investigation into the incident.

Ms Auma was accosted by the assailant as she rode to work on a motorbike (bodaboda) and was killed in cold blood.

Mr Kuto expressed concern for the welfare of judicial staff, wondering, “if the clerks are being targeted, what about the judges and magistrates who hear cases.”

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Mr Kuto said the issue of insecurity had been raised with the Inspector General of Police, the Director of Criminal Investigations, the Judicial Service Commission, and the Salaries Remuneration Commission (SRC).

“Despite this, the situation continues to escalate.”

Speaking to Nairobi News on Sunday evening, Mr Kuto said KMJA would seek an audience with President William Ruto to intervene as service delivery was at stake.

“Without proper security for our members, service delivery to Wanjiku (justice consumers) will be affected,” Mr Kuto said.

Mr Kuto added: “We will seek an audience with His Excellency the President Dr William Ruto for his intervention in this matter.”

Mr Kuto said KMJA was disturbed by the killing of Ms Auma, saying the judiciary was ” bereft with her abrupt and untimely departure.”

“The Kenya Magistrates and Judges Asspciation (KMJA) has learnt of the demise of Ms Phoebe Auma who was stationed at Migori Law Courts until her death. Ms Auma was shot dead by an unknown gunman while she was being carried to work on a motorbike,” Mr Kuto told Nation Africa in an interview on May 7, 2023.

He said the tragic incident occurred when the security situation for judges, magistrates, kadhis and judicial staff is alarmingly bad.

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Mr Kuto said the work done by judicial officers exposes them to a lot of risks.

“The incident (Auma’s murder) is just the tip of the iceberg. As an institution, we have been badly hit by such incidents that have resulted in the loss of lives of officers, their friends and close family members,” said Mr Kuto.

He added that many survived only by the grace of God. “Some have even resigned out of fear for their lives,” he added.

On December 22, 2017, a suspected robber carjacked a former Kwale chief magistrate, Doreen Mulekyo.

Ms Mulekyo, who has since retired from the judiciary, was not injured.

Unknown assailants shot at the driver of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu on October 24, 2017, weeks after the Supreme Court nullified the election of outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his then deputy, now President Ruto.

The driver, identified as Police Constable Titus Musyoka, was fatally shot outside Marsabit Plaza along Ngong Road.

Dagoretti OCPD Rashid Mohammed said the incident happened at 4.30pm. Judge Mwilu was not in the car at the time.

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