Man facing extradition to US over murder escapes from Kenyan police cell

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NAIROBI, Kenya - A man wanted in the United States for killing his girlfriend has mysteriously escaped from a police cell in Kenya, officials said, just days after his arrest in the leafy suburbs of Westlands within the capital, Nairobi, raising questions about the competence of security teams.

Police reports indicate Kevin Kangethe, 41, who was arrested a few days ago, walked out of the police station and jumped into a waiting Public Service Vehicle, moments after he was allowed to have a conversation with his legal counsel.

A court had allowed his detention for 30 days awaiting possible extradition to the US, where he is accused of killing his girlfriend. Authorities say that after Mr Kangethe murdered his girlfriend last October, he abandoned her body in a car at Boston Logan International Airport.

With authorities in the US launching a manhunt, the suspect maneuvered his way and managed to board a flight to Kenya, his home country. Police caught him in Nairobi after Interpol launched a search, alerting all partners worldwide.

Police have shocked Kenyans by disclosing that Mr Kangethe managed to walk out of the Muthaiga Police Station where he was detained on Wednesday afternoon. He was meeting a man believed to be his lawyer.

"After a short while the prisoner escaped by running away and left the lawyer behind," the statement said.

At the time, all the officers were attending a separate meeting that the head of the station had called. An eyewitness who works near the station told the BBC that police pursued Mr Kangethe, dressed in a black jacket.

"We thought he was being chased for jaywalking. People just watched him run away," the witness said. "If we knew why he was wanted we'd have helped arrest him."

Already, four police officers who were assigned to guard him in police cells have been arrested over the incident, Adamson Bungei, the Nairobi Police boss told reporters. His whereabouts are still unknown, officials added.

The privately owned Star newspaper quoted Mr Bungei as saying that the security lapse was "embarrassing" for Kenyan police, who have since launched a new search for Mr Kangethe. Officers at the station are restricting access, fearing more information could leak to the public.

The family of Margaret Mbitu, Kangethe's girlfriend, told reporters in the US that she had planned to end their relationship but he would kill her days later. She was a 30-year-old Kenyan-American nurse working in Halifax, Massachusetts.

GAROWE ONLINE

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