SUBJECT: Urgent Action Required: Child Sexual Assault Case
Dr. Erustus Kanga (HSC)
Director General of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)
I bring to your attention a deeply troubling incident that transpired five months ago in Aberdare Park, Shamata. A 15-year-old class 8 pupil was waylaid by one of your forest rangers, Officer Henry Kipngetich Chepkwony, while she was on her way from collecting milk.
Regrettably, the young girl was subjected to a heinous act of defilement/rape.
According to the minor’s account, this heinous act occurred in a secluded pathway connecting their plots to the milk collection point. It came to light only a few weeks ago when concerned teachers at Parkview Primary School noticed a change in the minor’s behavior.
Subsequently, upon speaking with her parents who are casual labourers, the traumatized minor disclosed the distressing incident, and how the suspect warned her to never disclose nor mention him.
Attached documents corroborate her story, including medical reports indicating that she is now 23 weeks pregnant. Furthermore, the minor has positively identified Officer Chepkwony as the perpetrator. The headteacher wisely advised the parents to report the matter to the local chief, which they promptly did.
However, it is disheartening to report that initial attempts at seeking justice were met with frustration. The family was referred to the Assistant County Commissioner, and only after further counsel from a relative did they file a formal complaint at Shamata Police Station on 13/09/23 (vide OB No. 20 at 18:25Hrs). Subsequent to this, the minor underwent medical tests at Nyahururu Referral Hospital, the results of which are attached for your perusal.
Regrettably, upon presenting the medical reports to the police station, the family was told to wait until the child is born before any investigations can commence, citing the need to perform DNA testing on the unborn child. This stance by the OCS Shamata Police Station and his officers is deeply distressing and unsupportive of the victim and her family.
Adding to the urgency of this matter, the suspect, Officer Chepkwony, has reportedly sent a threatening message to the minor’s mother (message attached) since the report was made. Furthermore, it has come to our attention that Officer Chepkwony has vanished from Shamata neighbourhood and is believed to be seeking a transfer with the assistance of a senior officer from his village.
Sir, it is with a heavy heart that I must also bring to your attention that this appears to be a recurring issue, with allegations of KWS personnel sexually exploiting women and children in the areas under their protection, either while fetching firewood or while using forest paths connecting neighborhoods
In light of the above, I humbly implore you to take immediate action on behalf of this vulnerable girl to ensure that the perpetrator is held accountable without delay. It is alarming to note that the suspect seems to be enjoying protection from officers at Shamata Police Station, despite the gravity of the situation and the urgency of justice.
I have taken the liberty of copying this letter to 1st Lady Rachel Ruto, Hon. Aisha Jumwa (CS Gender and Equality), IG of Police Eng. Josphat Koome, DCI Boss Mr. Mohamed Amin, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), and the IPOA Chairman for their awareness and potential intervention in this distressing matter.
Your prompt attention and action, in this case, will not only bring justice to the victim but also serve as a crucial step towards addressing the broader issue of sexual exploitation in areas under KWS jurisdiction. Going by the documented threat by the suspect, and Shamata Police argument that investigations can only commence once the baby is born, this girl’s life remains in danger.
Simon Mwangi Muthiora
Social Justice Enthusiast.
The Kenyan DAILY POST.