Kenya: husband of stabbed athlete Agnes Tirop arrested in Mombasa

“The suspect was arrested in Mombasa”. “He is in detention and was arrested while fleeing,” George Kinoti, director of criminal investigations, told AFP.

The man arrested, Emmanuel Rotich, should be presented to court on Friday, according to the same source.

The double 10,000m world medalist (in 2017 and 2019) and 4th in the last 5,000m Tokyo Olympics was found dead, stabbed, at her home in Iten, a high-altitude town in western Kenya where many long-distance and middle-distance runners.

On Wednesday, Tom Makori, police commander of the Keiyo North district, where Iten is located, claimed that Emmanuel Rotich, husband of Agnes Tirop, was the main suspect, “having made a call to Tirop’s parents to tell them that he had done something wrong “.

“The sooner we make him reveal the circumstances which led to the murder of the young girl, the better it will be for all of us,” said the police officer on Thursday.

Tirop’s brutal death made the headlines of many media on Friday in Kenya, struck by emotion and amazement.

“The murder of a champion” headlined the daily The Daily Nation, “the life of an athlete cruelly shattered” claimed The Star.

“Agnes Tirop had her life ahead of her and a thriving career ahead,” also writes The Daily Nation.

“Rising star”

The Kenyan Athletics Federation has announced a two-week suspension of competitions, in honor of Tirop and another long-distance runner, Hosea Mwok Macharinyang, who recently died of what was called suicide.

Its president, Jackson Tuwei, called her death a “real shock” to Kenyan athletics, of which she was one of the “rising stars”.

On Thursday, bereaved people, some in tears, gathered at her family’s home in the village of Kapnyamisa, about a two-hour drive from Iten.

“When we heard the news it was very sad, because Agnes has been a good person since she was young and Agnes has never been in conflict with anyone,” said her brother, Josephat Keter.

Her mother, Dinah Tirop, recalled with sadness the memory of her daughter, who provided for the needs of the family, including paying for the children’s school fees.

Tirop broke the 10 km road world record a month ago in an all-female race in 30:01 seconds in Herzogenaurach (Germany).

She was revealed in 2015 when she won the title of world cross country champion at just 19, becoming the youngest athlete to sign such a performance since South African Zola Budd in 1985.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also paid tribute to him.

“It is heartbreaking, extremely unhappy and sad to lose such a promising and young athlete who, at 25, had already brought glory to our country through her exploits on the track,” said the head of state in a communicated.

“Her death is all the more difficult to take since Agnes, the heroine of Kenya, was the victim of a cowardly and selfish criminal act,” he lamented.

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