Cops are using excessive force after theft of guns – residents
Thugs invaded Booker police post, attacked an officer and broke into the armoury
Leaders and residents of Mumias have criticised security officers for using excessive force in their bid to recover stolen firearms.
On Wednesday at 4am, thugs invaded Booker police post, within Mumias Sugar Factory, and attacked an officer on duty before breaking into the armoury, where they stole seven G3 rifles and more than 180 bullets.
The officer, who was alone, was critically injured and was found unconscious in the morning. He was taken to St Mary’s Hospital, Mumias, and later referred to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.
Following the attack and theft, a contingent of GSU and regular and AP officers were yesterday afternoon sent to Shitukhumi, Shibale, Mayoni and Lukoye villages to find the missing firearms. The officers ransacked houses and business premises searching for the stolen firearms.
Motorists and motorcyclists on the Mumias-Bungoma road were report- edly roughed up by the officers.
Majority of the youth are said to have fled from their homes for fear of being victimised during the search.
Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali and former ODM youth leader Rashid Mohammed yesterday termed the action by the officers “barbaric”.
They said the officers are assaulting innocent residents, who cannot be connected to the loss of the firearms from the Booker police post
Washiali said it is wrong for the officers to go around harassing and beating up residents “instead of owning up to their mistake”. “It cannot be possible that guns are stolen from Booker police post and hidden around Shibale, which is 500 meters away. I think the officers are not serious in their efforts to recover the guns,” he said. He said police should carry out investigations in a humane manner that will draw the public to help them recover the stolen weapons. “Going around beating up residents will contribute to a rebellion from the citizens, who might even have information that may help them,” Washiali said.
Washiali and Rashid questioned why the police post was manned by only one police officer. “The ratio of guns to police officers at the station is raising questions and that is where investigation should start,” Rashid said.
He asked police to widen up their scope of operation in efforts to recover the weapons. “It is a very sensitive matter, because we don’t know how the guns will be used when they remain in the wrong hands,” Rashid said. “Let officers come out clear and tell us why a whole police post was manned by one officer. We shall not take this lightly, because our lives are now in danger due to carelessness from the security agents.”
Shibale resident Hassan Shibwabo said his 15-year-old brother was picked from their house and beaten up before being locked up at Booker police cells.
Resident Stanley Ngotiza said the officers broke into his house and ordered his family members to lie down before beating them up. “They ordered us to surrender the guns we had stolen from the police post. But since we didn’t have any information about the robbery, we were beaten,” he said.
Resident Jaffer Ouma said he suffered a broken left hand and was robbed of his phone and Sh5,000.
Stanley Namayi said he sustained burns when his workshop was allegedly set on fire by the officers. He is admitted at the St Mary’s Hospital.
“I heard people knocking on the door and telling me to open it. But since there was information of the stolen guns, I feared it could be the criminals who intended to test the stolen firearms,” Namayi said from his hospital bed.
St Mary’s Hospital administrator Michael Mugo said Namayi suffered 80 per cent burns. “We may refer him to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret, because we may not be able to manage the injuries,” he said.
Shibale Mosque Imam Abbas Abdullahi said houses are being broken into and residents forced to part with money.“Those who can’t raise money are beaten up. I think their mission is not to recover the weapons but to steal from innocent citizens,” he said.
Lilian Obare is treated by Joan Khamala at Matungu Subcounty Hospital. She sustained injuries after she was allegedly beaten up by the police