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The last moments of slain OCS Odongo; Prime suspect plucked from foxhole

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On the evening of June 26, 2016, police constable Albert Lelei Ntuitai heard rumours that his boss wanted to discipline him.

He had taken to hitting the bottle during work hours, and often reported for duty smelling like a brewery. Lelei was a driver at Muthithi Police Station, Murang’a County.  

The Office Commanding Station (OCS) Henry Odongo, was a no-nonsense man. An air of seriousness shone on his epaulettes- whether he was fighting criminal gangs, illicit brews, or adjudicating trifle matters such as who was winking at whose wife.

“Big, small, not matter the issue. Odongo had a passion for service,” said a former colleague.   

The then County Commander Naomi Ichami addresses mourners during the burial of OCS Odongo in Chekalini village in 2016. The prime suspect in his killing was arrested yesterday. PHOTO/COURTESY

Lelei walked into the station’s report office. It was around 5:30 pm. He “picked a quarrel with his boss”. Angry as wasp, he snatched a pistol from the OCS and started shooting. The OCS was hit at least five times – on both hands, twice in the stomach and his right leg.

According to Naomi Ichami, the then County Commander, Murang’a, Lelei fired indiscriminately at colleagues before gathering his sobriety and slipping away in the darkness.

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Four-Year Manhunt

It took detectives four years to capture him. Yesterday, Directorate of Criminal Investigations’ Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau officers picked him at Senetoi, Narok South.

Albert Lelei Ntuitai in this hand-out photo by DCI. He was a police driver at Muthithi Police Station at the time of the incident in 2016. PHOTO/DCI

Lelei looked as if he had just crawled from a fox hole. He was bedraggled, eyes bloodshot, tearing like an incomplete painting.  

 OCS Odongo never made it. He was rushed to Maragua hospital where doctors fought to stop the bleeding. He died at around 8pm while waiting for an ambulance to transport him to Kenyatta National Hospital for specialised treatment.

Former Kakamega County Assembly minority leader Titus Kwomah during the funeral. Police driver Albert Lelei Ntuitai who is suspected to have fired five bullets into OCS Odongo was nabbed after being on the run for four years. PHOTO/COURTESY

Odongo was buried at his home in Chekalini village, Kakamega County.

On why it took detectives so long to arrest him, DCI said, “Previous attempts to arrest him had proved futile after he escaped our dragnet for a number of times, prompting detectives to change tact.”

Lelei is currently being held at an undisclosed police station. He is being “processed to answer to his heinous crime,” says DCI.  

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