Kenyan police hunt killer cult members

Ruiru, Kenya - The teacher who allegedly recruited Kenyan serial killer Philip Onyancha into what he calls a "blood sucking cult” has now gone into hiding.

The Kiswahili teacher [name withheld] at Gatamaiyu Secondary School in Ruiru did not show up to school on Thursday, according to the headmaster Mr J.Gichohi.

“She was here yesterday [Wednesday] but I have not seen her today; we are equally worried because she did not seek permission to be absent,” Mr Gichohi said.

“She has not called to say where she is and why she has not come to teach,” he added.

Mr Gichohi told journalists that police had visited the school early on Thursday inquiring about her whereabouts and contacts.

“They [police] were here in the morning and I have given them everything they wanted. We don’t know anything about the things we are learning from the media, we don’t know anything at all,” he added as he pleaded with journalists to leave the school compound because of the curiosity they were raising among the students.

He did not allow journalists to interview students or workers at the school.

Mr Gichohi said he knew little about the teacher as she had only been posted there one and a half months ago from Matopeni Secondary School in Ruiru.

“She was moved here recently; she is new and she had no other responsibility here apart from teaching Kiswahili,” the head teacher said.

A manhunt for the teacher was launched on Wednesday after Mr Onyancha - who has confessed to killing 19 people - alleged that she recruited him into the cult while he was a student at the Kenyatta High School, in Othaya Nyeri.

“My class teacher recruited me into a cult when I was in school but it took long to take effect; the spirits started working in me when I started working in Nairobi,” Mr Onyancha who hails from Etange village of South Mugirango said.

The Head of the Special Crimes Prevention Unit (SCPU) Richard Katola told Capital News that they were still visiting scenes in Naivasha and Nakuru where the suspect had pledged to reveal more.

Since Sunday, Mr Onyancha has been taking the police to various scenes where bodies and other personal effects of people he confessed to have killed were recovered.

“My target was 100 people... once I achieved that I would have been very rich. It is that power of conviction in me, and that is what my initiator told me but all that is now gone because I have confessed,” he added.

During police interrogation and interviews with journalists, the suspect said he planned to accomplish his mission in a span of five years and was mainly targeting women and children under 10 because they are weak.

“I always went for the weak in the society. You know women and children are always weak and vulnerable which makes them an easy target,” he said in fluent English.

Mr Onyancha who was detained last week said he was grateful to the police for arresting him because it had helped him speak against the “evil spirits” which have been haunting him.

“I feel relieved, I am happy to have confessed all this. It was troubling... it was not my wish to do these evils, I know it is a crime to kill and it is against the 10 commandments of God, but you see I was not myself,” he said amid pauses to catch a glimpse of a surging crowd that wanted to lynch him as he took police around Thika.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Onyancha took police to the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company in Karen where remains of a woman he confessed to have killed in November 2008 were found.

He also showed police a septic tank at a residential compound of a diplomat on Riverside Drive where remains of a woman he killed while working there in 2008 were also found before they headed to Thika and Nyeri for more revelations.

On Monday, he took police to Naivasha where he admitted to have killed a woman and a young boy whose sandals and clothes were recovered at the shores of Lake Naivasha.

He was arrested last week after he was tracked down through his mobile phone which he had used to demand ransom from the family of a nine-year-old boy he had killed in Nairobi.

The skeleton and clothes of the boy were found in a forest on Ngong Road near the Lenana School.