Slain Ugandan athlete Kiplagat to be buried in Kenya Thursday

Uganda's Benjamin Kiplagat competes in the Men's 3000m Steeplechase Round 1 during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 15, 2016. (PHOTO/AFP)

Nairobi, (KE): Slain Ugandan athlete Benjamin Kiplagat will be laid to rest in his ancestral home in Kenya on Thursday, his family said.

The 34-year-old Kenyan-born Olympian was found dead on a road on the outskirts of the Rift Valley town of Eldoret in the early hours of New Year’s Eve with a stab wound to his neck.

Both Kenya and his adopted country Uganda have laid claim to the steeplechase runner, but his brother Vincent Chemweno told AFP on Tuesday he would be buried at the family farm in the village of Kamendi, more than 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Eldoret.

“We are making all the necessary arrangements for the funeral where we expect a host of fellow athletes and politicians,” said Chemweno.

Kiplagat had represented Uganda internationally in the 3,000m steeplechase, including at three Olympic Games and six World Championships.

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Ugandan athletics officials and athletes had been trying to raise money for a funeral in their country, hoping Kiplagat would be buried in the town of Kapchorwa on the Uganda-Kenya border, where he owned a farm.

Two men were charged in Kenya on January 2 over his death and were ordered detained for 21 days to enable police to continue investigations into the killing.

While the motive remains unknown, police have said Kiplagat had been “waylaid” by the two men before he hit their motorcycle with his car.

Chemweno said the family believes Kiplagat, who leaves behind an expectant wife and a 13-year-old daughter, was not specifically targeted but fell victim to thieves.

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“We have come to terms that our brother’s death was a pure accident,” he added.

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