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January 19, 2019

Radio Citizen journalist beaten by cop, detained for hours in Malindi

Royal Media journalist Zomolo Wanje at Malindi police station, January 12, 2018. /Alphonce Gari
Royal Media journalist Zomolo Wanje at Malindi police station, January 12, 2018. /Alphonce Gari

A Royal Media journalist was physically assaulted by police in the wee hours of Friday when he went to inquire about his brother's arrest.

Zomolo Wanje of Radio Citizen went to Malindi police station to find out why his sibling had been apprehended at about 1am.

Wanje said he was on his way home when he received a call with news that his brother had been arrested outside the station. 

"I decided to go straight to the station to inquire about what had transpired. An officer opened the gate. Other police officers who were in a Land Cruiser called me as I headed to the report office."

A "rogue" officer then stopped him and asked why he was at the station at that time.

Before he could answer the question, Wanje said the officer slapped him and told him to go to the report office.

"Another police officer asked me what was going on so I told him about my brother’s arrest."

Royal Media journalist Zomolo Wanje with his relatives at Malindi police station, January 12, 2018. /Alphonce Gari

Wanje said the officer who had slapped him followed him and took him to a cell where he was locked up.

He said the officer then made an entry in the occurrence book, took his mobile phone and switched it off before releasing his brother.

The brother's pleas for him to be freed fell on deaf ears and the officers allegedly issued threats, forcing him to leave.

He said he was detained for more than eight hours.

Wanje's colleagues intervened by going to the police station after learning of the events later in the morning.

 “In the morning, an officer called Deno came and asked the one on duty to give me my phone. I found many people had called."

Wanje said he called OCPD Matawa Muchangi who told him OCS Stephen Mwachia would secure his release.

He said the OCS interrogated him then released him and told him to go back to the station at 2pm. 

Police have apologised and promised to take action against the officer who assaulted the journalist. Journalists in Malindi held a meeting on the matter.

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