Two key suspected Mt Elgon gang leaders arraigned in court

Key suspects behind a spate of criminal acts that rocked parts of Mt Elgon Sub county in recent months were on Thursday brought before a Bungoma court under tight security.

Timothy KiptanuiKiptai, alias Cheparkach and his younger brother Cleophas Ngeywa, appeared before Bungoma principal magistrate Gabriel Omondi and pleaded not guilty to more than 20 counts of rape, robbery with violence and murder.

The two committed the crimes on diverse dates from December 2017 with others not before the court.

Kiptai surrendered to CID officers in Eldoret on May 14 while his younger brother Ngeywo surrendered himself to police in Kericho two days later. The case will be mentioned on June 14 while the hearing date was set for July 3.

The two are believed to be leaders of a gang that has terrorized residents in various parts of the region, raping, maiming and killing villagers. They were using knives, pangas,rungus, and guns.

As a result of the heightened insecurity, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i on March 6 imposed 90 day dusk to dawn curfew as police went all out combing the area to wipe out the gang members and save residents who were living in fear.

Police had also placed a Sh 1 million prize for anybody who would volunteer information that would lead to the arrest of the duo.

Most residents had fled the area to parts of Uganda, and neighbouring towns of Kimilili, Chwele, Kamukuywa and Bungoma for safety.

The two were denied bond by the prosecution on claims that they have been on record for absconding court sessions in a 2015 case.

Cheparkach is believed to have formed the gang for revenge purposes after the burning of his house on January 17, 2017by irate residents due to his involvement in criminal activities.

Source: Kenya News Agency