Wanted Mt Elgon clashes mastermind surrenders

Timothy Simwa and Yusuf Masibo @PeopleDailyKe

Timothy Kiptanui Kitai alias ‘Cheparkach’ a man wanted for robbery with violence and murder in Mt Elgon on Monday surrendered to the elite Flying Squad police unit after several months of evading police manhunt.

In what has been kept as a highly guarded secret, Kiptanui is said to have presented himself to the authorities in Eldoret on Monday evening with sources intimating that the suspect was later transferred to Nairobi for further questioning at the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) headquarters.

Flying Squad officers under Commissioner of Police Musa Yego were by last evening still interrogating Cheparkach as it remained unclear whether he would be taken to court or not.

It remains unclear why a man who had escaped police dragnet for several months with a Sh1million bounty placed on his head for anyone who could volunteer information that could lead to his arrest eventually decided to present himself to the authorities.

Journalists in Eldoret pitched tent at the Central Police Station for the better part of yesterday to no avail as the area police boss Samwel Mutunga declined to comment on Kiptanui’s arrest and advised journalists to wait for an official statement later.

“I do not have any information regarding the arrest of Kiptanui but I pledge to give official statement once I piece together what I need to know. I cannot speculate on such a big issue that concerns one of the most wanted criminals in the country,” said Mutunga.

Other top security officials in Uasin Gishu county remainedtight-lipped about the suspect’s alleged surrender and avoided questions from journalists in the wake of conflicting information.

According to the police, Kiptanui is accused of leading a gang of other men in Mt Elgon that went on a killing and maiming spree early this year that forced Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i together with other top security officials to tour the area in March.

CS Matiang’i subsequently declared a 90-day 6 pm to 6 am curfew in Mt Elgon to tame the criminal activities of the ‘Cheparkach’- led gang that had killed more than 20 people at that time evoking fears of the infamous Sabaot Land Defense Force (SLDF) regrouping after its insurgency was crushed back in 2007.

A number of Kiptanui’s accomplices are in police custody with his trail over the past two months proving elusive amid allegations of police complicity that helped him to elude arrest. Since the declaration of the curfew, Mt Elgon area has regained relative peace and calm. The curfew is due to expire early next months.

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