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December 10, 2018

Changamwe police boss defends colleagues over extrajudicial killings

Changamwe police boss Peter Omanwa addresses residents at Kwa Hola, Changamwe, Thursday, December 6, 2018. /BRIAN OTIENO
Changamwe police boss Peter Omanwa addresses residents at Kwa Hola, Changamwe, Thursday, December 6, 2018. /BRIAN OTIENO

Police in Changamwe have been defended against accusations of extrajudicial killings.

Area police boss Peter Omanwa said officers use their firearms as allowed by law.

"They use firearms to either protect themselves or other people in danger," he said on Thursday.

Omanwa spoke during a forum organised by the International Justice Mission (IJM) in Kwa Hola, Changamwe.

The meeting brought together security officials, civil society organisations, and residents for a conversation on how to end cases of extrajudicial killings.

IJM has embarked on a campaign to encourage dialogue among the participants to fight crime and stop extrajudicial killings.

Residents said some parents hide their criminal children for fear of them being killed.

They also accused some police officers of endangering their lives by revealing their names.

"When we give information in confidence, police officers reveal them to the criminals we report and we are threatened," Dennis Juma, a resident, said.

He said it appears some officers work in cahoots with criminals.

Women said poor parenting has resulted in children ending up in criminal gangs.

"We are to blame as parents. Our children bring us expensive items but we never question where they come from," village elder Teresa Wamoi said.

Human rights activist Michael Nato said young criminals may not necessarily be bad people. He said some could be suffering from mental problems.

"They need our help. Sometimes we have to stop and think about them. Let us not criminalise our youth who are calling out for help," he said.

Changamwe DCI boss Stephen Murega said in most cases police are blamed unfairly when criminals are killed.

He said Kenyans engage in extrajudicial killings but blame the police for "defending criminals".

"When the mob lynches a suspect that is extrajudicial killing," Murega said.

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