3 January 2019

Kenya: Lamu Family Claims Police Brutally Beat, Injured Their Son

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A family in Lamu is demanding justice for their son who was injured after he was allegedly brutally beaten by police officers.

Mr Yusuf Abuu, 19, a resident of Ndau village in Lamu East is now hospitalised at the King Fahad County Hospital where he was operated on two days ago after his appendix failed to work in what his parents claim to be as a result of the police beatings.

According to the victim's uncle, Mzee Athman, Mr Abuu, together with others, was arrested and taken to Ndau Police Station after they were accused of stealing a duck from a neighbour.

Mr Athman said their efforts to have the matter solved communally were fruitless since a local administrator insisted that it be dealt with by the police.

THREATS

"The police arrested our son and others and took them to their station in Ndau. That's where all evils happened to our son and his colleagues. Before releasing them, the police threatened that they will finish them if they disclose what had befallen them at the station. After a few days our son started complaining of abdominal pains. We brought him here to the hospital and we are told he has developed complications of the appendix," said Mr Athman.

Yusuf's mother Tima Kassim asked the police to come out clear and explain what they did to her son who is now in critical condition.

"When they took him to the police station, my son was okay. He started developing complications shortly after he was released from police custody. He is now hospitalised and in critical condition. I demand answers about what happened to him. I don't understand why the police are quiet over this incident," said Mrs Kassim.

APPEAL TO IPOA

The family now wants the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) to intervene and investigate the matter.

"It's wrong for police to use such kind of force on unarmed citizens while doing their work. The police force has a mandate to protect civilians and not rush to use excessive force on them whenever a confrontation of whichever magnitude arises between them," said Mrs Halima Omar.

Contacted, Lamu County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri dismissed the beating allegation as untrue.

Mr Kanyiri said the victim is known to have a chronic pre-existing medical condition that has seen him seek medical attention before at King Fahad Hospital.

But he added that the man is free to report the matter to the police as well as Ipoa for action.

NOT TRUE

"It's not true that the man was ever assaulted by any police officer anywhere in Lamu. He had an altercation with his brother over a duck they had planned to sell together on December 16, 2018 but could not agree on how to share the proceeds. Their mother preferred to resolve the issue at home and personally asked the officers to whom the issue has been reported to hand over the matter back to her. They are, however, free to report to the police station, get an OB number and report to Ipoa for action," said Mr Kanyiri.

Lamu County Police Commander Muchangi Kioi said he is not aware of the matter since it has not yet been reported to him or to any police station in Lamu.

"We haven't received such a [report] anywhere in our police stations. Even my officers on the ground in Ndau are not aware of the matter. So I advise the family to report the matter to the nearest police station so that action can be taken. We are ready to investigate such allegations," said Mr Kioi.

This is not the first time that police in Lamu have been accused over harassment and use of excessive force on members of the public.

On November 27, 2018, residents of Lamu town stormed Lamu Police Station to complain over what they said was increased police harassment especially when the officers conducted patrols at night.

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