KENYA – A middle-aged woman died after her partner stabbed her 14 times in Kenya on Thursday night.

The suspect, Caleb Kiptoo, is said to have been living with Irene Suge at Seguton village in Kabarnet town.

Police said Irene was stabbed repeatedly on the chest and hand at around 11pm.

She died on the spot as Caleb attempted suicide by stabbing himself on the chest three times.

Officers who arrived at the scene found him unconscious and took rushed him to hospital.

According to the police report, when Caleb regained consciousness, he escaped from the hospital.

Baringo Police Commander Robinson Ndhiwa however said the suspect has been re-arrested and investigations are ongoing.

The deceased’s body has been moved to the Baringo Referral Hospital mortuary awaiting postmortem.

Irene’s murder comes on the backdrop of escalating cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Kenya since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gender CS Margaret Kobia said GBV cases increased by 92percent between January and June 2020.

“The most common forms of GBV identified in the study were physical assault, rape/attempted rape, murder, sexual offenses, defilement, grievous harm, physical abuse, child marriages, psychological torture and child neglect,” she said on Thursday.

5009 cases in Kenya were recorded through the national toll-free helpline 1195 between January and December 2020, the CS said, indicating a 36percent increase for the whole of last year.

The study found several contributing factors: alcohol, drug and substance abuse; poverty; family/domestic disputes; retrogressive cultural beliefs and practices; poor parenting/upbringing and moral decadence; identity crisis among the youthful population and inadequate support system.

In July last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the National Crime Research Centre to carry out a study and establish the causes of increased GBV cases in Kenya.

According to Prof. Kobia, there is need to break the silence on GBV cases in Kenya: “Any form of violence is wrong and those affected should not be afraid to ask for help.”

The CS acknowledged that during times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, negative coping mechanisms can result to GBV; however, the lockdown and curfew rules are no excuse.

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