Dandora police killings spark outrage

"The probe follows an incident in which three suspected robbers were shot and killed in separate incidents in Huruma and Mathare on October 29."
"The probe follows an incident in which three suspected robbers were shot and killed in separate incidents in Huruma and Mathare on October 29."

Police have executed 17 people in a span of seven days within the Dandora, Mathare and Majengho areas of Nairobi.

They include six people killed on Sunday in Dandora; four shot in Majengo on October 20; two in Molwem on October 23, and another five yesterday morning in Mathare.

In one month, police have carried out 14 extra judicial killings in Dandora alone, according to a local human rights organization, Dandora Justice Centre.

Yesterday, when the Star caught up with Festus Mwendwa at Dandora Justice Centre yesterday, he was depressed and emotionally drained.

He could hardly walk by himself.

He fought back tears as he narrated how police killed his only son — Sammy Musili, a KCSE candidate at Dandora Secondary School — on Sunday morning.

Musili was among the six people killed in cold blood in Gitwamba village in Dandora Phase V by police from Kinyago Police Station in a macabre case of extra-judicial execution.

Buruburu police boss Geoffrey Mayek told reporters the six were shot dead after stealing a boda boda and gang-raping a woman passenger. Eyewitnesses disagree.

Read:

The killings triggered public uproar forcing the Independent Oversight Policing Authority to swing into action.

Yesterday, IPOA sent a team of over 10 investigators to probe the incident even as rights advocacy groups Independent Medical-Legal Unit and International Justice Mission launched independent investigations into the killings.

"I was woken up by gunshots at around 6.30am on Sunday but I did not bother to check what was going on because I was preparing to go to church. I decided to go and buy milk to prepare tea," Mwendwa said.

On his way back from the shop, he was stopped from using the route by police officers who told him it was a crime scene. One of the officers finally allowed him to pass.

Mwendwa, a 48-year-old mason, narrated how he was busy preparing tea when a neighbour came shouting at his door, “Baba Sammy, Baba Sammy. Sammy has been killed.”

Mwendwa had rented a house for his 23-year old son in the adjacent building after his mother died two years go and was buried in Mwingi. Josephine Karunguma, a guardian, was supporting him with basic needs.

"I was shocked so I ran out to the scene but the police blocked me from seeing the body of my son," Musili said and broke down in tears.

CLIMBED ON TREE

Musili had climbed a tree to have a glance at what was going on in the neighbourhood. The police were chasing two suspected gangsters who had reportedly raped a middle-aged woman and stolen a motorcycle.

One of the suspects had already been shot dead while the other climbed a roof in a bid to escape.

The weak roof caved in according to Wilfred Olal, a coordinator at Dandora Justice Centre, and sunk the suspects into the house where three people – David Kariuki and his nephews were sleeping.

Read:

The officers caught the three and the suspect in the house and frog-marched them to an open ground where they were executed.

Kariuki's nephews – Peter Mwangi, a Kisii University student and another identified as John, a student in a Murang'a school, had visited for the holiday. Their mother, Kariuki's sister, died in July.

"Karuiki pleaded with them (police) to spare his nephews because they were students and that they were innocent but the officers could hear none of it," Olal said.

As Kariuki was pleading with the police, a female officer came and told her colleagues not to waste time and shot all the three.

Some people who had gathered at the scene told the officers that a suspect had climbed a tree. He was ordered to come down. He was shot dead despite pleading that he was a student.

According to Olal, there were seven policemen in total.

A light-skinned Kamba policewoman shot Sammy on the head and chest at point blank range.

Yesterday, Kariuki's wife, Joyce Wanjiru, collapsed and was rushed to Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital.

"These boys were innocent and my sister's husband was a mere hawker. He was hawking second-hand shoes in this area and everyone knows him," Wanjiru said as tears rolled down her chicks.

When the family visited the police station, they were turned away by the policewoman who accused them of defending criminals. Beside being were denied access to the bodies at the scene of the shooting, they were later required to pay Sh500 each when they went to the city mortuary to view the bodies.

International Justice Mission director of systems reforms Wamaitha Kimani lauded IPOA for prompt investigations. She said cases of police extra-judicial killings had risen in the recent past.

She said the senior leadership has to ensure police exercise great restraint when using force much like "Corporal Joash Ombati did when he single-handedly arrested two suspects within Westlands without any use of lethal force."