September 22nd 2017

Top Stories / National

Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat dies with secrets of Wagalla Massacre

He resigned after coming under investigation for alleged past human rights abuses, particularly his role in the 1984 Wagalla Massacre in Northern Kenya. Mr Kiplagat was then linked to the massacre in which hundreds were killed in Wajir, while others were tortured during a security crackdown.

By Lucy Mwihakilmwihaki@kenyafreepress.comFriday, 14 Jul 2017 08:35 EAT

Former Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Bethuel Kiplagat

Former Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Bethuel Kiplagat passed on this morning at Nairobi Hospital where he was undergoing treatment. The former Diplomat died aged 81 following a long illness.

Kiplagat, who was born in the year 1936 becomes the fourth prominent leader to pass on in a span of two weeks. Laikipia Senator G.G Kariuki passed on June 30 and would be buried today at his home followed by Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery who died at Karen Hospital on July 8. He would buried tomorrow at his Bisil home in Kajiado County. And on Tuesday this week, former Cabinet Minister Nicholas Biwott died also in Nairobi.

Diplomat Bethuel Kiplagat served under President Daniel Moi from 1978-1991 as the Kenyan Ambassador to France and High commissioner to Britain and permanent secretary in the ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The late Kiplagat, a former diplomat and Kenyan government official, served as TJRC chairman from 2009 to November 2010. He resigned after coming under investigation for alleged past human rights abuses, particularly his role in the 1984 Wagalla Massacre in Northern Kenya. Mr Kiplagat was then linked to the massacre in which hundreds were killed in Wajir, while others were tortured during a security crackdown.

He was reinstated as TJRC chair in 2012 despite objections from other members of the commission.

 In August 2016, Kiplagat wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions to carry out fresh investigations into the matter after he was adversely named in the TJRC report.

He has previously served in various dockets both in Africa and in Eastern Africa. He was a member of the Nairobi Stock Exchange, Executive Director of the Universal Bank of Kenya, Chairman Kenya Rural Enterprise Programme and Operation Save Innocent Lives.

He was the founder of the Africa Peace Forum, where he served as the Executive Director. Until his death, he was engaged in activities that aimed at encouraging the community based peace process in Eastern Africa.

During an interview at the NTV newsroom in 2009, Ambassador Kiplagat the then head of TJRC wept uncontrollably when asked what he knew about the death of former Foreign Affairs Minister Robert Ouko. Mr Ouko was a close family friend, Mr Kiplagat said.

“I’m willing to go anywhere to know who killed my brother Ouko. His family has a lot of trust in me,” he said as he tried to fight back tears.

He added the friendship with Mr Ouko’s family still exists as he is a member of the Ouko Foundation. Mr Kiplagat had to ask for a break in the recording to let him recover his composure

He said he was among the few senior officials who responded to summons by the Ouko Commission of Inquiry, which was set up in 1991 to establish the cause of death of the late Foreign Affairs minister.

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