The askaris who ‘stripped’ woman facing penalties

Miraa traders in Garissa town yesterday /STEPHEN ASTARIKO
Miraa traders in Garissa town yesterday /STEPHEN ASTARIKO

County askaris who harassed and undressed a food and miraa vender in Garissa town will face disciplinary action, a senior county officer said yesterday.

Last Saturday, a woman accused askaris of stripping her naked, mistreating her and dragging her to a police station.

She said her right to privacy was violated and her dignity ruined in public. She said the officers tore her headscarf and dress, locally called diraa.

Head of enforcement unit Ibrahim Hassan dismissed the allegations. He said the woman was unruly, abusive and even undressed herself to evade arrest by the officials.

“The lady has occupied the dumpsite for the market as a shop and when we gave her notice to vacate, she became unruly and uncooperative. We took her to the office to talk to her calmly away from the market,” he said.

The trader said everyone in the vicinity saw her naked, and she felt helpless and embarrassed.

“They called in an Administration Policewoman who handcuffed me. They bundled me into their vehicle and took me to a police station some kilometres away,” she said.

Deputy county secretary in charge of operations and security Abdirashid Mohamed, however, said the alleged behaviour was barbaric and unfortunate. No one should face such embarrassment at the hands of enforcement officers, he said.

“There must be a dignified way of dealing with traders when enforcing certain measures. It’s unethical to mishandle our mothers. We’ve directed the director of enforcement to furnish us with reports of those behind this barbaric act,” he told the Star.

Mohamed said Governor Ali Korane’s administration will not allow askaris to take the law into their own hands and harass citizens in the name of enforcing laws.