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Police-civilian conflicts worry Siakago residents

Four youths were attacked and injured on Wednesday allegedly by the police

In Summary

• AP officers accused of brutality and fuelling conflicts. 

• Eastern regional coordinator Isaiah Nakoru says investigations will be done and the law will take its course.

Eastern regional coordinator Isaiah Nakoru
Image: Martin Fundi

Residents of Siakago in Mbeere North have accused police officers of harassment. 

They said the officers from the Siakago AP camp have been roughing them up and injuring them. Four youths were attacked and injured on Wednesday allegedly by the police. Two of them were admitted to the Embu Teaching and Referral Hospital on Thursday morning.

Eastern regional coordinator Isaiah Nakoru said that investigations will be done and the law will take its course. 

A hospital employee who sought anonymity said the victims suffered multiple head, hand and lip injuries.

"One is in stable condition, while a 35-year-old is in critical condition. Doctors are trying to stabilise him," said the health worker. 

Eastern regional coordinator Isaiah Nakoru said they would investigate and allow the law to take its course. He said the role of police officers is to protect civilians and ensure order. 

"Any officer who will be found to have contravened the law will face the consequences individually. The law does not discriminate, even police officers must follow the law.  We expect our officers to be at the forefront in abiding by the law," Nakoru said. 

Residents say the police officers have caused bad blood with civilians. They have urged security bosses in the region to organise an open day so they can fix the worsening relations and avert a major crisis. 

"We are worried that if this continues, we might be forced to hold demonstrations and never cooperate with the officers in any way," another resident said. 

Friends and relatives of Martin Murithi, the 35-year-old victim, said some police officers had overstayed in the area and become cosy, hence the rise in conflicts. 

James Kariuki said police-civilian conflicts have been rampant and blamed the problem on the officers. "There have been several other incidents, including ones that have led to deaths," he said. 

In 2010, AP officers shot and killed 10 people in Siakago. The case is still in court. 

Residents said their efforts to report the incidents to senior police officers have not been bearing fruit. "We've been reporting the cases but no action has been taken so far, they protect their own," another resident said. 

Jane Karimi said some officers are sometimes suspended, only to be redeployed in the same region.

"There is a continued and prolonged feud between Siakago residents and the police. The same police officers who attack people are never transferred or if they get suspended they are returned to this same station to serve the same people they attacked," she said. 

Karimi urged the government to move officers who have served Siakago for more than 10 years so their relationship with the police can improve.

(Edited by F'Orieny)