17 January 2019

Kenya: Steve Mbogo Criticised for Carrying Rifle, Wearing Flak Jacket At Riverside

Photo: Nation
City politician Steve Mbogo. Criticism and ridicule continued to be directed at Mr Mbogo's after he responded to the Dusit attack carrying a high-calibre rifle — usually not given to civilians.

Criticism and ridicule continued to be directed at politician Steve Mbogo's because of his conduct in the early hours of Tuesday's terrorist attack on 14 Riverside Drive, even as an unmoved Mr Mbogo refuted claims that he had been arrested.

Photos and videos of Mr Mbogo at the scene terror attack, armed with a high-calibre rifle and a navy-blue bulletproof vest, have put him in the line of fire since they surfaced online, with many questioning his attitude and the message he intended to portray.

Worse still, he was filmed accessing one of the worst-hit areas, and although he had a rifle, he did not seem to have any sense of urgency. The shot also captured some of the victims of the attack.

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, a former patron of the National Gun Owners' Association, on Wednesday posted a brief message on Facebook in reaction to Mr Mbogo's actions: "Kenyans deserve respect."

CIVILIAN WEAPONS

Security researcher Mwiti Muriithi, who has authored an anti-terror guidebook, Act before Bang, said the ideal situation is that civilians own pistols, and not long-range weapons.

"Do you know why civilians are given pistols and not rifles? It's because pistols are for close combat, to protect yourself when your life is in danger and not for battle. A rifle is meant for war, an exchange," Mr Muriithi told the Nation.

"For those in this industry, we call weapons concealed for a reason. That's not a public display of force. He was portrayed like a security officer, and that is the preserve of security forces," he added.

Most of the criticism came through social media.

"What was the purpose of Steve Mbogo? Or was it just selfies at the crime scene?" Bubolu asked on Twitter.

"The only place Steve Mbogo used his gun is at the photo shoot," joked Ronnie, as Twitter users competed to outdo each other by posing like Mr Mbogo and a man he was standing with when one of the photos was taken.

As the criticism raged, reports emerged that Mr Mbogo had been arrested. But in a telephone interview with the Nation after leaving the Nairobi Area police station, he said he was allowed to go since all his firearm documentation was in order.

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