Kenya guard Agnes Tirop’s family at funeral as police launch hunt for killers

This article is over 1 year old • Tirop was a member of the Kenyan swimming team at the Rio Olympics • Athletes continue to demand answers from Kenyan authorities The family of Kenya’s…

Kenya guard Agnes Tirop's family at funeral as police launch hunt for killers

This article is over 1 year old

• Tirop was a member of the Kenyan swimming team at the Rio Olympics • Athletes continue to demand answers from Kenyan authorities

The family of Kenya’s national swimmer Agnes Tirop who was shot dead in Nairobi on Saturday have held a funeral, days after police said she had been killed by robbers.

Mourners cried as they queued outside the packed Kapsabet market in Kenya’s largest town on Sunday, some holding photos of Tirop.

Tirop’s death drew condemnation from Kenyans and other African nations, prompting demands from her family for investigations. “We are keenly following what has been happening but ask that no stone goes unturned until all the investigations are concluded and we get the truth,” Tirop’s uncle Kiprotich Moru told the Guardian.

Public to Kenya: please investigate our massacre after a female swimmer is murdered Read more

Tirop and three other swim team members were unloading sand in their car when it was robbed by a gang of four men who made off with gold, cigarettes and a mobile phone, according to officers.

Tirop died at the scene. The others were unhurt.

Police said Tirop had pointed her gun at the attackers and was killed in self-defence. Friends said she had a gun for protection but was not a trained gunwoman.

Tirop, 28, was a member of the Kenyan team that finished eighth at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and claimed 10th at the 2012 London Olympics. She had won silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

Moro, Tirop’s uncle, said she had gone to discuss a case in court with one of the alleged thieves when the robbery took place. “She was back from court, told me of the murder by my sister at about 8pm on Saturday. She had been tasked to accompany a young man with a pistol to court,” Moru said.

Tirop was a member of the Kenyan women’s swimming team and trained in the coastal town of Mombasa. Before that she had trained at a conservancy in Kenya’s Rift Valley and was expected to feature in this year’s London Marathon.

Kenya’s ministry of sports has said it has launched an internal probe into the case, while the Athletics Kenya president, Jackson Tuwei, and Paralympic chief, Patrick Sang, have called for an independent inquiry.

However, Tirop’s brother, Gideon Onyango, said that until an “accountability mechanism” is established in Kenya, the athletes would continue to demand answers from the authorities.

He added: “The authorities should look into the genesis of these killings. The government must look at what we have been saying, as athletes, we will not relent.”

Agnes Tirop on the podium after winning silver in the 50m freestyle final in Rio. Photograph: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

Ethiopia’s 10th-placed shot putter Getachew Fekadu died from injuries he received at the hands of a gang of six robbers last week. He was robbed of $1,500 (700,000 Kenyan shillings) in central Ethiopia’s Aloe village.

Fekadu had a rich track and field history that included two African championship gold medals and nine other medals, including a Commonwealth Games gold in 2000.

Fekadu, a former sailor, would have turned 36 in May. In 2015 he travelled to Rio as an ambassador for the Ethiopian diaspora in Kenya and was in constant contact with them. In his final video uploaded on Facebook, he thanked his supporters for their support.

Ethiopia has for several years been plagued by increasing ethnic violence. Analysts have linked a wave of violence to rising anger at poor conditions at the rundown camps of Ethiopia’s 4.7 million displaced people.

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