Ugandan athlete murder suspects ordered for mental assessment

Benjamin Kiplagat during 2010 FBK games in Hengelo. PHOTO/FILE

Summary:

  • Two suspects accused of murdering athlete Benjamin Kiplagat in Kenya await mental assessments before entering a plea. The suspects were ordered by an Eldoret Court to undergo evaluation at a hospital. Kiplagat’s death adds to a series of athlete murders in the region, including Agnes Tirop and Damaris Muthee.

Two individuals implicated in the suspected murder of Benjamin Kiplagat, a Ugandan athlete of Kenyan descent, are to undergo mental assessments before entering their plea in court.

An order from the Eldoret Court mandates David Ekai, also known as Timo, aged 25, and Peter Khalumi, aged 30, to be transported to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital for evaluation. Rosemary Onkoba, the Deputy High Court Registrar in Eldoret, instructed law enforcement to escort the suspects for assessment to determine their fitness for trial.

Pending their court appearance on January 31, where they face murder charges, the two must remain in custody at Eldoret GK Remand Prison.

The suspects, one of whom works as a boda boda operator, were apprehended in connection with the brutal killing of the 34-year-old athlete, whose lifeless body was discovered with stab wounds in his vehicle at Kimumu estate along the Eldoret-Iten highway in Uasin Gishu county on New Year’s Eve.

A knife believed to be the murder weapon was recovered at the crime scene. Authorities suggest the motive behind the attack was likely robbery, as the perpetrators made off with money and the victim’s cellphone.

Tragically, Benjamin Kiplagat’s death adds to a grim tally of athlete murders in the region. Among the victims was Agnes Tirop, a two-time cross-country World Champion, who was fatally attacked at her Iten residence three years prior by her estranged husband, Ibrahim Rotich. Rotich, currently out on bail, contests the murder charges in court.

Additionally, Damaris Muthee, a Kenyan-born-Bahraini athlete, was found dead at the residence of a male Ethiopian runner two years ago. The primary suspect has fled the country, evading justice.

In another incident, Rwandan runner Rubayit Siragi lost his life in a confrontation in Iten town last August, believed to have stemmed from a dispute with a Kenyan athlete over a romantic entanglement.

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