Kenya: Police Accused of Teargasing Sleeping Mukuru Slum Dwellers

30 November 2020

Residents of Mukuru-Kaiyaba slum in Nairobi are seeking explanation from the authorities after police officers allegedly lobbed teargas canisters in the area on Sunday night while the locals were asleep.

According to the residents, the incident happened at 10:35pm after officers forced their way into a pub where some patrons were said to be enjoying their drinks while watching a football match.

The officers allegedly lobbed a teargas canister inside the pub to flush out the patrons who were thereafter forced to do push-ups while being beaten with batons.

However, no one was arrested during the incident.

After they left the pub, the three police officers joined their colleagues who were in a Land Rover which was parked outside and drove off.

After 15 minutes, more teargas canisters were reported to have been lobbed at Kisumu Ndogo area in the same slum while residents were asleep in their houses.

The affected residents, including three children and three adults, narrated how they were left breathless during the incident.

"We were awoke from our sleep by the explosion of a teargas canister followed by huge smoke which engulfed our house. My wife and two sons fell unconscious but they were resuscitated by neighbours," said 43-year-old Michael Kasyoki, a trader.

On Monday, Kasyoki's wife Mrs Faith Kasyoki, 38, complained of severe headache, chest pains and abdominal discomfort. She was on her way to hospital.

Mrs Julia Waithera, a mother of one, said was in her house together with her eight-year-old son when the incident happened.

She said teargas choked them as they found themselves trapped inside the house with nowhere to run.

Shameful act

"We could neither see nor walk as we lay on the floor helpless. I could only scream for help," said Mrs Waithera.

Her neighbour, who only identified himself as Baba Wangari, administered first aid to the child.

Area MCA, Herman Azangu Kaimosi, condemned the incident, saying such action by the police cannot be justified.

"It is shameful for trained officers to brutalise members of the public. How can officers lob teargas in an area where people are asleep in their houses? This matter should be investigated," the MCA said.

Industrial Area Police Commander Festus Maingi promised to look into the matter.

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