A mob in western Kenya has killed a self-confessed serial child killer who escaped from custody three days ago, police say.
Masten Wanjala was traced by villagers to a house in Bungoma town and beaten to death, they say. Wanjala made news headlines in July 2021 when he was arrested and confessed to more than ten killings and sucking the blood from at least one of his victims (read here). Wanjala’s five-year killing spree started when he was just 16, local media reported.
After months in police custody, Wanjala escaped from prison on Tuesday, October 12 (read here). His escape from prison led to the arrest of three police officers who were on duty at the time (read here).
Authorities immediately launched a massive manhunt for the fugitive but locals got to him first and killed him.
Wanjala reportedly returned to the home of his parents – who have disowned him – and was subsequently strangled by neighbours who found out he was there, an eyewitness told Kenya’s Standard newspaper.
He tried to stave off suspicious locals by moving to a nearby house, Bungoma’s police commander told the paper. It is thought his family identified the body.
“We are not sure how he managed to travel all the way from Nairobi to his rural home,” Musyoki Mutungi said.
“It is the curious villagers who first identified him and went ahead to kill him even before the police could be informed.
” Wanjala posed as a football coach to lure his victims to secluded areas, after which he attacked them. In some cases, he took them as hostages for ransom.
Upon his arrest in July, he took the police to burial sites of his victims where bodies have since been recovered.
There are growing calls for the resignation of Kenya’s police chief over Wanjala’s escape from prison, which shocked the nation.