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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Officer slain in the ‘valley of death’ laid to rest in Ng’arua

By Bett Kipsang’

When the family of Charles Rono woke up on Sunday, they were by far not prepared for the sad news awaiting them.  The country and the world had woken up to the worst incident in the history of Kenyan police force. Tens of officers had been felled by cattle rustlers in Suguta Valley, Samburu County which has since been referred to as the ''Valley of Death''.

Charles Rono, 29 was among the ill fated police officers who perished in the line of duty at the valley. He was married to Patricia Jemutai, 24. And they were blessed with two young daughters aged 2 and three months old.

 The late officer joined police force five years ago and served at the Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) in Gilgil and Maralal, until his death which occurred as him and fellow officers were pursuing cattle rustlers. It is reported that 41 other officers perished in the incident rated the worst in the history of the Kenyan police force. 

When the news of the fallen hero started trickling in, the entire Mithika Sub location in Ng’arua division was submerged in deep sorrow and the family got soaked in tears to moan a beloved son, husband and father of two. The sad news had changed the bearing of the young family forever. When LRV visited the area on Tuesday, family members and neighbors sat in somber moods as they waited for the arrival of the remains of their beloved son.

 Plans to bring the body home from Gilgil were first thwarted when some families and relatives of the slain officers could not positively identify the bodies, forcing the exercises to delay so that the CID could conduct forensic verification.  

The elder daughter of the deceased was busy playing with other kids. They jumped up and down from the plastic chairs which had been brought in to be used by hundreds of mourners who will gather to pay their last respect to her dear father. The girls are perhaps too young to connect with the reality of losing a dear father and breadwinner. They will only grow up with a faint mirage of memories of who their father was!

Their mother Patricia Jemutai is faced with a daunting task of bringing up the two girls and meeting their educational needs. This may prove difficult unless the government intervenes to secure the future of the young family in honor of the gallant officer, who lost his life in the front line while enforcing law and order in the country.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Mithika village home on Wednesday, to pay their last respect to the fallen officer.

 Groups of people gathered and communicated in low voices each narrating what they have heard about the Sunday occurrence in the doomed valley. 

 The tales were heart-rending. A man who did not want to be identified reported that some police officers could not be identified because their bodies decomposed in the scorching heat and some were devoured by wild animals like hyenas. It is reported the bodies remained for up to two days before they were collected. 

The man told LRV that after the attack some police officers made desperate phone calls for rescue but died of over bleeding when their rescue was not forthcoming. 

This adds up to the grim statistics of the growing trends of insecurity in the country. It calls for drastic measures to be taken by the state to contain the situation and protect the lives of both citizens and security officers from criminals.

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