Cops are us­ing ex­ces­sive force af­ter theft of guns – res­i­dents

Thugs in­vaded Booker po­lice post, at­tacked an of­fi­cer and broke into the ar­moury

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Western - SHABAN MAKOKHA @she­ba­maks

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.

/SHABAN MAKOKHA

Lil­ian Obare is treated by Joan Khamala at Matungu Sub­county Hos­pi­tal. She sus­tained in­juries af­ter she was al­legedly beaten up by the po­lice

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