24 November 2012

Kenya: Traffic Cop Shoots Matatu Driver

Nairobi — A traffic police officer in Kisumu shot and injured a matatu driver on Saturday sparking protest from motorists and the public along the busy Kisumu-Busia road.

The motorist who was approaching Kisumu from Busia defied an order to stop for a routine inspection at a road block in Kisian in the outskirts of Kisumu city.

Witnesses say the driver sped off after an exchange with an administration police officer who was part of the team manning the roadblock.

"I saw the driver speeding off from the roadblock then I heard gun shots," said Jecktone Otieno, a boda boda cyclist.

A young girl who had just fetched water from a nearby river was also injured by a stray bullet and was rushed to the hospital for medication.

The officer claimed he intended to deflate the tryes of the vehicle to ground it but unfortunately shot the driver who survived with serious injury.

Nyanza police boss Joseph Ole Tito says the officer was disarmed immediately and taken in for questioning as the injured driver was rushed to New Nyanza General Hospital for treatment.

"I had dispatched my officers to the scene but I can confirm that one of the traffic officers accidentally shot at a driver in an attempt to deflate his vehicle tryes. It is very unfortunate," said Ole Tito.

Ole Tito promised thorough investigations into the shooting incident and called upon the public to calm down.

"I know this incident has caused uproar among the motorists but I want to appeal to them that we will get to the bottom of this matter as fast as possible. We call for cooperation to allow for smooth investigations," he said.

Police sources say the officers manning the road block got a call from Maseno police station to detain that vehicle after it also defied an order to stop for inspection.

"The officer was right to take that action, they got a call to detain the vehicle and here is the driver disobeying the orders; he had no option but to try to stop it by all means," said an officer who sought anonymity.

Following the shooting, motorists joined members of the public who witnessed the shooting to block the road forcing other motorists to find alternative routes.

Most vehicles were pelted with stones as the demonstrators barricaded the road using rocks.

Police later managed to contain the situation and normalize transport along the road.

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