Law enforcement agencies were yesterday treated to heart-rending accounts of police killings and brutality at a community dialogue gathering in Kayole Social Hall, Embakasi Central.
DPP Noordin Haji and DCI chief George Kinoti as well as top officials of the criminal justice system and Independent Policing Oversight Authority and Internal Affairs Unit listened as victims recalled their bitter experiences.
The “criminal and outright overreach” attracted many residents, including reformed criminals.
Victims narrated their ordeals and those of their loved ones, many of them dead, at the hands of the police. They accused the uniformed officers of operating underground and using vehicles with several civilian registration numbers.
Susan Muthoni, 18, said she was widowed twice in 2017, and blamed her widowhood to trigger-happy officers.
On May 27, 2017, the police shot her first husband, who at the time was 19, she said. The construction labourer was returning home from work. Susan said life has never been the same.
“I was 16 at the time, and my husband was coming home when I got a call telling me to find out if he was among those who had been shot by the police,” the mother of a two-year-old boy said.
After the man was buried, Susan had a second chance in love. In August same year, she remarried.
“The man promised to take care of me and my child and we fell in love,” she said. The marriage never lasted.
On the evening of Christmas Day that year, the second husband did not return home.
“I thought he was just revelling as usual and would return home in the morning of Boxing Day,” she said.
Fate had it otherwise. Susan was told of
police shooting near Mlango Kubwa where they lived.
“I then told my mother-in-law that we needed to search for him. We were advised to visit City Mortuary where we eventually found his body,” she said.
The body was riddled with 21 bullet wounds. “Why are the police misusing the bullets this way?” Susan asked the top officials.
All this while, Kinoti, Haji and the security team listened attentively, but sad.
Susan said an officer called Rashid was the one “responsible for my husband’s death and he has been looking for me”.
Another testimony was from Beatrice Muthoni, a resident of Githurai, who said her brother died last year in the hands of a mob “who had been incited by two armed AP officers in Kayole”.
Beatrice had lived in Kayole with her mother and two siblings. She later relocated to Githurai.
She said her family was well known in the Kayole neighbourhood and it was “shocking that my brother could be killed so heartlessly by the very people as the police watched”.
“On July 28, last year, I got over 18 missed calls at around 9pm and even before calling back, I received another call informing me that my brother was in danger,” she said.
“I had to get to Kayole on a motorbike to see what was happening. I found my brother, alongside his friend, surrounded by people and the police.”
The two had been lynched.
“My brother and his friend were accused of being thugs. As the mob continued hitting them with stones, the officers would tell them to finish the job quickly so they take the bodies to City Mortuary,” she said.
“By now, you should have given us the bodies,” she quoted a police officer as having said.
“The officers even told them that to avoid a lot of questions at the mortuary, or they would give them a bullet each in the head,” Beatrice narrated.
The deaths prompted her to join human rights advocacy so she could see no more extrajudicial killings and mob violence. She is now a member of the Kayole Social Justice Centre.
She later told the Star that the brother and his friend’s troubles started when they accidentally fell a trader’s bananas. They apologised and proceeded to their house.
“This woman is known to us as a family and she knows that my brother fell her two bananas by mistake,” she said.
“Later that evening, she made a report to the nearby police station and that resulted in the death of our second born.”
Another woman only identified as Purity said the police killed her brother last year. He was on his way from the work.
“The police told us that my brother was part of a gang that was fleeing on a motorbike and so was shot,” she said. “When we went to the Buru Buru police station to enquire, they showed us one of the many motorbikes there, but none had even a single blood stain.”
Purity said the body at City Mortuary was bullet-ridden.
DPP Haji ordered thorough investigations into the cases. He said culprits will be brought to book.
Also present were other Ipoa, ODPP and DCI officials. Counsellors were also on standby to provide support to the affected families.