RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Muhuri to sue police over brutality during search for missing Lamu cop

Police issue a 12-hour ultimatum for the public to produce the officer or face the consequences.

In Summary

• The Muslims for Human Rights group said police had assaulted Lamu East residents, inflicting grave injuries since October 2.

• Many residents reported being dragged from their houses, beaten and whipped by police officers.

A Mombasa rights lobby has said it will take legal action against police officers who brutally beat up locals in Lamu East as they sought their missing colleague.

The Muslims for Human Rights group said police had assaulted Lamu East residents, inflicting grave injuries since October 2.

Police Constable Hesbon Okemwa’s mutilated body was found in a forest in Tchundwa on Saturday evening four days after he went missing. 

He was last seen headed to his duty post at the Tchundwa police station from Kizingitini.

His gun was missing and police suspect his murder was due to his tough stance against drug peddlers in the region.

The body was recovered following a tip-off from wananchi shortly after a public baraza between security officials led by county commissioner Irungu Macharia.

Police had earlier issued a 12-hour ultimatum for the public to produce the officer or face the consequences. 

Many residents reported being dragged from their houses, beaten and whipped by police officers.

On Monday, Muhuri chairperson Khelef Khalifa said they were investigating the acts of brutality against civilians including small children, a majority of whom were assaulted in their own homes.

Khalifa said the Lamu county commissioner must bear full responsibility for the actions of his officers.

He demanded that the commissioner furnish Muhuri with the names of all officers involved in the operation.

Muhuri also wants the Lamu OCPD to start a police inquiry into the brutality meted on locals per police regulations.

“We're sending a team with a view of taking legal action against policemen involved including the county commissioner,” Khalifa said.

Khalifa said the multi-agency operation that led to the recovery of the officer’s body, violated human rights as law enforcers assaulted over 40 Lamu East residents.

“Despite the recovery of the body, police intensified the attacks in the pretext of searching for the firearm. Police have not tabled proof to show the over 40 victims had links to the disappearance and the death of the officer,” he said.

Muhuri’s rapid response officer Francis Auma questioned what restrained the police from arresting the locals if they were all linked to the death of the cop.

“They are trying to cover up their mistake by registering a group penalty. We fear this trend might take precedence in the Lamu East attacks,” he said.