JUSTICE DENIED

Lamu police accused of refusing to fill in P3 forms for brutality victims

Residents are told to bring witnesses before they are issued with the P3

In Summary
  • Without the document, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to sue the concerned officers for the assault and grievous harm.
  • Eighteen of those assaulted are from Myabogi, six from Mtangawanda and 42 from Tchundwa.

By Cheti Praxides

@ppcheti

Police officers in Lamu East have allegedly refused to fill P3 forms for 66 residents whom they brutalised as they searched for their missing colleague and his gun last week.

Without the document, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the aggrieved to sue for the assault and grievous harm inflicted on them. The officers raided the village after Constable Hesbon Okemwa went missing on October 2 as he headed for the Tchundwa police post at around 5am.

His badly mutilated body was recovered 400 metres inside a forest in Kizingitini on October 5, but his head and left hand had been chopped off in what is believed to be a warning to other officers fighting the illicit drugs trade in the region.

His G3 rifle, which was loaded with 60 bullets, has yet to be found. His colleagues did not take his diaspearance lightly. They cracked down on residents. 

On Thursday, Muslims for Human Rights rapid response officer Francis Auma said the police turned away victims who sought the P3 forms. He said they were told to wait until they are phoned to record a statement. Auma met the victims at Faza in Lamu East.

The police are allegedly demanding that all victims bring along witnesses before the P3 forms are issued to them. Auma dismissed such a requirement as unprocedural.

"Without the document, it’s hard for the prosecution to prove the police inflicted injuries. We consider this an attempt to subvert the course of justice," he said.

Eighteen of those assaulted are from Myabogi, six from Mtangawanda and 42 from Tchundwa. The police recorded statements and issued blanket OB numbers depending on one’s place of origin.

County police commander Muchangi Kioi dismissed the claims, saying no one had lodged complaints. He asked all the aggrieved to report to his office as it is their right to be issued with the P3 forms.

“No one should be denied P3 forms because it’s their right to have them... I'm heading to the area to find out more,” Kioi said.

But Auma said officers had issued OB numbers 20/05/10/2019 for Mtangawanda and 19/05/10/2019 for Tchundwa, while those from Myabogi had individual OB numbers. The police are cunningly and deliberately refusing to fill the P3 forms, he said.

"The police are employing a delaying tactic. They want some of the injuries to naturally heal and make it hard to prove there was harm," Auma said.

Those injured included a seven-year-old girl and a 100-year-old man. Auma said the police had equally failed to explain and prove how a group of 66 people can plan and execute an officer's murder without the authorities getting wind of it.

He said inasmuch as they sympathise with the family of the slain officer, the fact that the police have yet to make an arrest is alarming and indicates that they have no evidence to link those they brutalised to the murder.

"Therefore, the assault was unjustified, and they must be held accountable for the atrocities they committed," Auma said.

Muhuri has asked Lamu county commissioner to provide the names of all the officers who tortured residents, failing which he shall be sued for subverting the course of justice.

“If you [Macharia] fail to comply, we shall sue you for trying to subvert the course of justice,” a letter drafted by Muhuri chairman Khelef Khalifa on October 7 states.

The rights body also wants a police inquiry into the beatings.

(Edited by F'Orieny)