Kenya: Demos, Police Action Leave Trail of Destruction

Police officers patrol Kibra streets in Nairobi on August 12, 2017 during protests by residents.
15 October 2017

The operation by the General Service Unit officers deployed in Kisumu to quell anti-IEBC protests has left a trail of destruction and injuries.

Residents and traders interviewed on Saturday gave damning information of attacks allegedly orchestrated by the police during the Friday protests.

Scores of people were taken to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital, four with bullet wounds.

LOOTERS

Mr Josephat Oduki, who operates a pharmaceutical shop at Kondele, revealed how GSU officers smashed the windows of his shop leaving it open to looters.

"When the GSU officers first attacked us, they smashed the windows of the pharmacy and broke into the M-Pesa shop.

"On Friday, they returned, made further destructions leading to rioters accessing the shop.

"They looted all the drugs, a photocopying machine and other items worth almost Sh2.5 million," Mr Oduki said.

TORTURE

Mr Philip Adundo, who operates a wines shop, said the GSU officers took away alcoholic drinks.

"The exposure created by their destruction allowed protesting youth to also access the business premises and made away with the products worth millions of shillings," Mr Adundo said.

On Friday, the officers stopped motorists, boda boda operators and pedestrians at Kondele, hit them with their wooden batons and forced them to carry rocks on their heads as they walked on the water-logged road undergoing construction.

Also, armed with guns and wooden batons, they stopped people opposite Choppies supermarket in Kondele on the Kisumu-Kakamega Highway.

HARASSMENT

Ms Abby Sande is another victim of the police harassment in Kondele.

"I was returning home when they accosted me in Kondele and forced me to carry a heavy stone from the road and walk in the dirty, muddy water by the road side," Ms Sande recalled.

Lawyer Linda Achieng', who was attending a Continuous Professional Development workshop in Kisumu that was organised by the Law Society of Kenya, was also caught up in the mess.

"I was travelling to Mamboleo Estate with my mum and two ladies when the GSU officers stopped us, forced us out and compelled us to walk in the muddy waters as they attacked the driver and the conductor," Ms Achieng' said.

She said people were forced to walk with their hands raised up.

JOURNALISTS

Earlier, even Journalists and nursery school kids did bear the consequence of the demonstrations.

According to their teachers, anti-riot police fired tear gas and sprayed a minors' classroom at Mount Carmel Academy in Nyalenda.

The incident came barely a week after nursery school pupils from St Peter's Awich Kodingo, also in Nyalenda, were tear-gassed.

But Nyanza Regional police boss Leonard Katana said he was not aware of police attacks on innocent people in Kisumu.

"I am not aware of such acts. I do apologize for any wrong that could have been committed by the officers.

"I understand the role journalists play and to attack them was wrong," Mr Katana said.

INVESTIGATION

Kisumu City Residents Voice Chairman Audi Ogada condemned the attacks and asked Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) to launch a probe.

"This beastly act must be probed and the officers brought to book. This is uncalled for and we demand to know whether those are real officers or criminals in police uniforms," Mr Ogada said.

Mr Benson Oduor Otieno, a boda boda operator, displayed his motorbike that had been damaged by the officers.

"They hit me with their clubs injuring my fingers and breaking my motorcycle's side mirrors and break lights," he said.

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