A sombre mood has engulfed Kamatungu estate on the suburbs of Marimanti town in Tharaka-Nithi County after a man allegedly stabbed and killed his friend following a scuffle over a meal of termites.
Mr Daniel Mutiria Cece, 36, who worked at a welding shop in Marimanti town, was allegedly stabbed four times in the stomach and chest by his friend, Muriungi Kiyogere, 35, Sunday night at around 11pm.
Confirming the incident, Tharaka South Police Commander Kiprop Rutto said after the stabbing, the suspect escaped from irate residents who were baying for his blood and ran to Marimanti Police Station.
“The suspect escaped the wrath of the villagers and surrendered at the station where he confessed to stabbing the deceased,” said Mr Rutto.
The suspect was immediately locked up and police officers rushed to the scene where they found Mt Cece’s lifeless body lying in a pool of blood and took it to the Chuka County Referral Hospital mortuary.
Mr Rutto said that according to initial investigations, a disagreement ensued after the victim found the suspect picking termites outside his house and demanded that he surrenders them, claiming that they belonged to him.
He said after a fist fight, the suspect ran to his house and returned with a knife with which he stabbed the victim four times.
The man died on the spot.
“We are looking forward at arraigning the suspect in Marimanti tomorrow on murder charge,” he said.
According to eye witnesses, the two were long-time friends and had spent the Mashujaa Day drinking liquor together.
“We are shocked by this incident because we have never witnessed such animosity in this area before,” said Mr Jane Muthoni, a resident.
She said many residents peacefully pick termites for a meal during rainy seasons and they have never witnessed any such disagreement because the insects are wild and they do not belong to anybody.
Njuri Ncheke elder Jacob M’Chabari said it is taboo among the Ameru people for circumcised men to eat termites, adding that and was a big shame for a man to kill another because of the insects.
He said only children and women are allowed to eat the termites.
A glass of termites is sold for Sh100 in local supermarkets or on the streets.
They are a sweet delicacy especially when served with ugali.
By ALEX NJERU