Two arrested in connection with the murder of athlete Kiplagat. GETTY IMAGES

The police of the East African have detained two men in their thirties who are considered prime suspects in the murder of Kenyan-born athlete Benjamin Kiplagat, who represented Uganda on the international stage. 

The two men were arrested on the outskirts of the Rift Valley town of Eldoret, according to the local police commander, Stephen Okal. "The two suspects are known criminals who have been terrorising members of the public," Okal told AFP. "We are at an advanced stage of the investigation and are likely to charge them tomorrow." 

A Kenyan-born athlete, Kiplagat rose to international fame representing Uganda in the 3,000m steeplechase, winning silver at the 12th World Junior Athletics Championships held in Poland in 2008, and bronze at the 18th African Athletics Championships in Benin in 2012. He also represented Uganda at the Olympic Games and World Championships. He reached the semi-finals at the London 2012 Olympic Games and also competed at Rio 2016. 

World Athletics, the global governing body of athletics, said it was "shocked and saddened" by Kiplagat's death and sent its condolences to his family, friends and colleagues via social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).

As for the murder, it is known that the 34-year-old athlete's body was found in a car on Saturday night with a deep knife wound to the neck. Although the motive for the killing is still unknown, the police stated that Kiplagat had been "ambushed" by the two men before his car collided with their motorcycle. "This probably provoked them to commit this act of violence," Commander Okal told AFP, referring to the stabbing inflicted of the athlete. 

He also mentioned that one of the suspects had been arrested with a knife believed to have been used in the murder of the Kenyan athlete, who represented Uganda for 18 years. ç

This incident follows to the murder of the prominent Kenyan long-distance runner Agnes Tirop in October 2021. The world record holder in the women's 10km road race and a specialist in the 5,000m was found stabbed to death at her home in Iten, a training centre near Eldoret, at the age of 25.