Kenya: Did They Kill Their Own? Ipoa Probe Covers Police Deaths

Police officers (file photo).
22 January 2020

Nairobi — Did police kill their own and if so, why? This is one of the questions investigators at the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, IPOA, are grappling with as they seek to unravel suspected extra-judicial killings-including police officers.

Of the dozens of cases IPOA is investigating, two are of police officers suspected to have been killed by their colleagues.

If proven, the two will join the growing list of victims of extra-judicial killings over the years, majority of them being civilians as documented by various reports filed by the rights groups.

In one of the cases, according to IPOA is that of Constable Abdi Khadir Ali Kula, which occurred on December 17 last year, while in the company of his two colleagues.

In IPOA said the officer died under "mysterious circumstances."

The police officer who was based in Kariobangi Police station was on foot patrol within Kisumu Ndogo slum, Korogocho area where he was shot dead during an encounter with people described as "five suspicious young men."

In the process, IPOA says, one of the gang members shot at Abdi Khadir Ali Kula on the right rib while Corporal Albert Siengo was stoned. Both officers were rushed to Korokocho Health Center by well-wishers."

Kula is said to have been pronounced dead while undergoing treatment while his colleague survived.

The other incident involving the death of a police officer occurred in September last year.

Inspector Benson Indeje was allegedly killed by officers from Muthangari police station at Congo, Coast area of Kawangware in Nairobi.

IPOA on Wednesday said investigations revealed that on the fateful day, Boda boda operators alerted Police Officers on patrol from the nearby Muthangari Police Station that an armed criminal was harassing them.

"The Police Officers responded to the distress call and on challenging the victim, he allegedly fired seven rounds of ammunition at them injuring one Police Officer on the left wrist arm. It is alleged that it is at this point that the Police Officers returned fire injuring the victim who later succumbed to his injuries," IPOA said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

The probe over his death is "almost complete" according to the authority.

Accordingly, IPOA launched investigations into the death of the police officer which are almost complete.

IPOA chairperson Anne Makori said they are probing other cases detailed in a list of more than 60 cases from last year to date mostly of people shot during demonstrations across various parts of the country.

The latest incident is that of the killing of Stephen Machurusi, a 17-year-old boy, during protests over the poor state of Kasarani-Mwiki road.

During the Wednesday briefing, the authority raised concerns over increased cases of misuse of firearms by police officers and the use of excessive force.

The IPOA chairperson has urged Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to enforce the rule of law among officers and ensure the "rogue ones" are weeded out.

"IPOA condemns in the strongest terms possible the recent incidents in which members of the National Police Service have reportedly used excessive force resulting to loss of lives and grievous bodily harm, serious injury to Kenyans including innocent minors during public order management," Makori told journalists.

"As custodians of the rule of law in this country, it goes without saying that the Inspector General, Deputy Inspector General Generals and the general National Police Service are expected to be the strongest advocate for respecting the Constitution and the law they have the responsibility of enforcing," she said, flanked by other board members.

"IPOA has noted with a lot of concern that the misuse of firearms and use of excessive force continue to be the biggest challenge facing the National Police Service. The Sixth Schedule of the National Police Service Act, 2011 is very clear and provides for the use of force; firearms and specific responsibilities of senior officers during amongst others, public order management," she asserted.

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