19 January 2008

Kenya: Police Termed Kisumu Shooting Regrettable

Nairobi — Police headquarters has termed as 'unfortunate' an incident in which a police officer was shown shooting two unarmed protestors in Kisumu, killing one.

The officer has reportedly been "temporarily interdicted" pending investigation into the shooting.

The force has also regretted the supply of live ammunitions to anti-riot officers, saying they will now use rubber bullets.

So far, 510 people have died in the post-election violence across the country, and 82 deaths have been as a result of police shooting.

Consequently, an inquiry into the Kisumu incident has been launched to establish the circumstances of the shooting.

But police spokesman, Mr Eric Kiraithe, said the accused officer remains innocent until proved guilty.

"The officer seen on the TV clip is under investigation and I do not want to give more on this," he said.

He did not say whether the officer has been arrested or interdicted.

Kiraithe noted that it is not yet confirmed if the officer was involved in the shooting, arguing the clip may have been manipulated.

He added police are yet to establish if either of the two men in the clip died out of the shooting and if the officer's gun was indeed used.

The officer spoke to journalists at the police headquarters, Vigilance House.

Said he: "The officers will now start getting rubber bullets as a way of containing the situation."

He added that some of those killed by police were criminals who attacked people and robbed property.

Kiraithe said the force is also distressed by the current situation even as he read a statement on behalf of the Commissioner of police, Maj-Gen Hussein Ali, congratulating the officers involved in the exercise, for doing a good job.

He said of the 510 people who have died since the skirmishes broke out, 82 were killed in police operations.

He said police would remain focused on their mandate of keeping law and order.

His remarks came in the wake of complaints from ODM leaders that police had been given the "shoot to kill" order. ODM leaders have protested the use of live ammunitions.

Maj-Gen Ali was scheduled to address the briefing, but did not turn up.

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