Kenya: Police Attack On 'Nation' Photojournalist Condemned

Police officers (file photo).
13 January 2020

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has condemned the attack on a Daily Nation photojournalist who was badly beaten up by police officers on Monday while covering a protest in Mombasa.

Laban Walloga was clobbered by police officers as he attempted to cover protests triggered by controversial Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) regulations which business people say has negatively impacted the coastal city's economy.

SERIES OF ATTACK

In strongly-worded statement, MCK said the attack on Walloga by the police is just one among a series of attacks meted out on several journalists in the last two weeks.

"Attacking journalists in the line of duty is a violation of the law and perpetrators must be brought to book within the provisions of the Kenyan law," the council's CEO David Omwoyo said in the statement.

The media body also said that many cases that have been filed by journalists against police brutality have never seen the light of day.

"It is now obvious why the many cases shared with the police relating to attacks against the media are never investigated and perpetrators arrested. The police are accomplices and perpetrators of this impunity," the statement further read.

This is not the first time the Nation photojournalist has been attacked.

In August 2018 Walloga, alongside NTV cameraman Karim Rajan, was beaten up after he tried to follow a story of a private developer who was blocking the beach and reclaiming sea land.

ATTACK ON JOURNALIST

Other journalists who have recently been attacked include Robert Maina from Inooro TV, who was covering demonstration by Egerton University Student in Njoro campus, Daily Nation's Wanjohi Githae and Brian Obuya who were roughed up by police officers at Kilimani police station after a section on TangaTanga politicians demanded the release of Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria who had been arrested for alleged assault.

MCK is now calling upon the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) to look into the cases of journalists' attack.

Several people, including Jomvu Kuu Member of County Assembly Shebe Mukono and Haki Africa's Hussein Khalid and Mathias Shipeta, were arrested during the Monday protests dabbed 'Black Monday'.

The weekly protests against the SGR-only cargo freight started in 2019.

The protests were organized by the Fast Action Business Community Movement, who work in collaboration with Human Rights organizations.

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