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Trigger-happy cops kill six after bid to arrest wife-beater gets out of control

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What was to be a routine arrest of a man for assaulting his wife in Trans Nzoia county turned bloody on Sunday evening, leaving six bodies in its wake.

Seven others are hospitalised with bullet wounds in the head, chest, abdomen and leg.

Two officers had been dispatched to Kolongolo village, Kwanza constituency, to arrest a man called Juma for allegedly assaulting his wife.

“…after they had handcuffed him, one of the officers, known as Kamau, started beating him up. A friend of Juma’s intervened and asked the officers why they were beating him up yet he had not resisted arrest,” a witness who sought anonymity said.

“Kamau, who is well known at the marketplace, [then] shot the two in the abdomen.”

Witnesses said the officers retreated to the police station and came back accompanied by six colleagues in Land Cruiser.

A crowd had however built up and prevented the officers from collecting the bodies.

“They drove back and after few minutes another police vehicle came with about 20 officers. At that point the public had barricaded the roads. They tried to force their way and that’s when their Land Cruiser hit a log and overturned,” the witness said.

He said the police, who consisted of GSU and anti-stock theft officers, stated shooting live bullets at the wananchi, who were protesting against the collection of the two bodies.

See: [VIDEO] Kitale: Five feared dead in clash between police, villagers

When the shooting stopped, four more people lay dead and many others were injured, including county assembly speaker Joshua Werunga and two journalists.

Not even an ambulance was spared from the hail of bullets.

“I received a call, and as a known leader in the area I went to the ground to intervene. The officers were firing live bullets at the public. I got to the centre of the confrontation and I raised my hands up imploring the officers to stop shooting,” he said on Sunday at Mt Elgon Hospital.

“One of the officers came and hit me on the head and I fell down.” Werunga was referred to Mediheal Hospital in Eldoret for a head scan.

Area MCA Emanuel Waswa and MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi rushed to the scene to help restore calm, but they too failed and the hail of bullets continued.

Royal Media Services’s journalist Edwin Namasaka and West FM’s Peter Nyongesa were beaten up by the officers.

“We arrived at Kolongolo police post to get details of the happenings. One officer approached me and asked who I was. After he saw my press card he chased me out and hit me on the back saying that they did not want to see any journalist around,” Namasaka said.

David Mulongo sustained bullet wounds in the chest and hand.

He was at the market when he heard gunshots and rushed to the scene to see what was happening.

“The situation was bad. People were running for their lives. I slipped behind a building but I felt a pain in my chest and fell down,” Mulongo said from his hospital bed. He was rushed o hospital by villagers. The injured are admitted at Kitale County Hospital and Mt Elgon Hospital.

County commissioner Erastus Mbui said the DCI had taken over the investigations. “The investigations are on the preliminary stage…the officer who shot the two men is in custody,” he said on the phone.

Governor Patrick Khaemba yesterday condemned the incident and urged Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to intervene.

Speaking at Kitale County Hospital, he called for the arrest of the officers who shot live bullets at civilians.

“These officers have overstepped their mandate of protecting residents by killing them. We are calling for the immediate transfer of the officers to pave way for investigations,” Khaemba said.

The governor demanded a judicial commission of inquiry be formed to look into the matter. Khaemba was accompanied by Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi.

He said if no action will be taken then he will bring a motion of no-confidence in the leadership of the police service.

 

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