Women block Meru-Maua road in protest over rising rape cases in Tigania East

By: DAVID MUCHUI

Scores of women from Mbaranga Village in Tigania East, Meru County Thursday barricaded the Meru-Maua road protesting against increased cases of rape in the area.

The enraged women said that an elderly woman died after she was gang-raped by unknown people two weeks ago.

Ms Catherine Mwonjiru, a resident, said three women have been raped in the last one month and three others in the last one year.

She attributed the increasing cases of rape to illicit brews and accused police of inaction when the cases are reported to them.

“Two weeks ago we buried a 70-year-old woman who had been raped by unknown men. “Just before we finished mourning her, another woman was gang-raped by four men on Monday night.

“We could not take this anymore because the area chief and police are not taking action,” Ms Mwonjiru said.

RAPED IN TURNS

She said the four men broke into the victim’s house as she slept with her children before raping her in turns.

“Last year, two girls were raped in the same village. Another girl was also raped in March this year yet no suspect has ever been arrested,” she said.

Ms Mwonjiru said the perpetrators are believed to be men who come from illicit brew dens that are now operating at night.

The demonstrators sought audience with Tigania East Deputy County Commissioner Patrick Kimolo who promised to address their grievances.

According to a Catholic priest, Fr John Muriungi, many rapes cases targeting elderly women have been reported in the area in the last five months.

“Last week I conducted the burial of a rape victim. Last month I also buried a rape suspect who committed suicide for fear of being arrested. We want the government to improve security in this area,” Fr Muriungi said.

SEVERAL CASES REPORTED

Acting police boss Cecily Gatiti said several rape cases have been reported.

“It is true that we have these cases and police have started investigations.

“We will also have a meeting next week to help identify culprits and resolve other security issues raised by the residents,” she said.

However, the protesters insisted that their security be assured.

“We want to be assured of our security because the lives of women, especially those whose husbands work in far flung areas and are barely home, are at a risk of falling prey to these people,” said Lucy Mugenya, one of the residents.

Another victim who was raped on Wednesday is recuperating at the Tigania Mission Hospital.

The woman said a man attacked her in her house as she was asleep and raped her.

“He strangled and overpowered me before committing the act. I screamed and he ran away. I’m asking the government to arrest the culprits who are attacking women,” she said.