Philip Onyancha: Was serial killer a lady’s man or did he really possess "powers"?
It was sometime in 2000 and I received a call to rush to a scene somewhere along Ngong Road in Nairobi next to the RFUEA rugby grounds. When I arrived on the scene I could not believe what my eyes. It was difficult to tell how long the man had been dead because even the blood wasn’t oozing out any more. He was middle-aged and his body was stark naked, lying face down in the long grass. But something else attracted my attention. A huge chunk of flesh had been cut out of the back of his upper thigh. It was missing and nowhere to be seen anywhere at the scene of the crime.
But more surprises were to follow. That evening there was no report in the media about the grisly murder victim. I scanned all the newspapers the next morning and they too had absolutely nothing about this bizarre crime. That was the day I realized that Kenya was in trouble and at the mercy of serial killers.
In the years that followed things worsened. Under intense public pressure to address increased crime the Kenya police became less and less open about what was really going on. The cops even established a public relations department mainly to filter the information on crimes going out to the public. The whole idea was to prove to Kenyans that crime was under control and going down rapidly.
With this kind of background the startling revelations that started last Sunday about a self-confessed serial killer called Philip Onyancha (pictured in our graphic above) just confirmed my worst fears for years.
Onyancha a 32 year old former guard with G4S security company has been taking investigators and the press around the country on a gory tour to show them crime scenes and decomposing remains of some of his 19 victims.
It is rather obvious that Onyancha was either a man of the ladies or his claims about having “powers” is true. How do you so easily lure a woman you have only recently met to a secluded loft on some ceiling? And yet the woman is not even a prostitute? While it is true he killed at least half a dozen prostitutes, Onyancha also lured many other women that he hardly knew who were not twilight girls, to their death. His preferred method of killing was by strangulation.
But even more sickening was Onyacha’s confession to murdering small children (including a 9 year old whose skull he led police to near Lenana High school. Onyancha would then continue to pester the family of his victims for ransom money even when he knew that he had already killed their loved ones. Interestingly this serial killer got so confident that he used the same cell phone number for a long time without worrying about getting caught. His explanation? The evil spirits controlling him and giving him the urge to take human life convinced him that he was “protected” and would never be arrested. And that is why investigators were puzzled at what he told them when they arrived very heavily armed to arrest him. He told them; “You are too powerful to have been able to arrest me.”
But for me what was most disturbing by far was the chilling confession of the motive behind the whole grisly affair. Onyancha said that he had been recruited into a cult by a former female teacher of his in high school and had been told that he would be an extremely wealthy man when he reached the target of killing 100 people. Those who are aware of the level of poverty in Kenya can appreciate how rapidly any such recruiter would have been able to recruit serial killers with such a promise.
The bottom line is that even as Kenyans call for Onyacha to be locked up and the key thrown as far away as possible, the truth is that there are many more ruthless serial killers out there. It appears that even as the rich worry about criminals who will kill them for their car or ATM card, now it seems that the poor too have reason to worry about a new breed of criminal who will kill them for their blood. Or to ask ransom from their jobless relatives.
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