Kenya: Police Brutality - IPOA Wants Juja Rogue Officers Punished

12 November 2019

The national civilian policing watchdog and human rights activists want stern action taken against rogue officers who brutalised students during a protest at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Juja, Kiambu County.

Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) and Amnesty International Kenya said they have initiated investigations into the use of excessive force by police during the Monday demos.

Images and videos that went viral show police officers beating up students.

SHOOTING AIMLESSLY

One video clip shows an unarmed Jkuat Fourth Year student in blue jeans and a red T-shirt being beaten by four law enforcers.

The officers are said to have broken the gate of one of the hostels and threw teargas canisters into the rooms. An officer was also seen shooting aimlessly at the students.

"IPOA condemns in the strongest terms possible yesterday's (Monday's) incident in which members of the National Police Service were caught on camera assaulting students from Jkuat," the authority said in a statement.

"We have this (Tuesday) morning dispatched its Rapid Response Unit to investigate the matter with a view of unravelling the facts to enable holding accountable any culpable Officers. IPOA will investigate the allegations of use of force, use of firearms and any other misconduct against the Police Officers," read the statement.

RAMPANT INSECURITY

The students, who were protesting against rampant insecurity in the institution and its environs, had blocked the Thika Highway.

Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director Houghton Irũngũ said they were deeply concerned about the violence meted out on students and called on the public and police officers with information on the incidences to share the information with relevant human rights and policing institutions.

"Violent policing during public demonstrations must stop, officers who break their code of office must be held individually guilty of misconduct, sanctioned and made to compensate victims," said Mr Irungu.

The two institutions expressed their disappointment with the unprofessional manner in which the police deployed their public order management mechanisms during the operation.

They called on Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i to ensure that the perpetrators and brought to book.

On Tuesday, Kenyans continued to express their displeasure over emotive video clips that captured police brutalising the students.

Many Kenyans castigated the police officers for using excessive force on unarmed students on social media platforms.

"Just watched a very disturbing video of police brutally beating an individual alleged to be a JKUAT student. I don't know why all those officers would choose to beat up unarmed person who is already on the ground and is not resisting arrest. Can the IG clarify this incident?" twitted 2017 Presidential candidate #Team Mwalimu Dida.

BARRICADED ROAD

Others took issue with the officers for collaborating with the boda boda riders to beat the students who had barricaded Thika Highway.

"The police ganging up with the same people who rob students to beat up students says a lot about the security of comrades in Juja... ," twitted Lucy Kamunya.

Citizens also urged the National Police Service to take action against the officers. They alleged that the service is yet to change from its old ways of operation even after formation of the National Police Oversight Authority.

"NPS must arrest these heartless police officers," wrote Kevin Kiumbe.

Some Kenyans proposed that the government should set higher qualifications for joining the police service to ensure officers carry out their duties professionally while respecting the rights of demonstrators.

"It's high time our country started employing people with grade B- as police officers," said @Ochieng' Sewe.

Dr Matiang'i and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai have said that action will be taken against officers who brutalised the university students.

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