•Gitau is said to have been in police hands before being found dead at City Mortuary in Nairobi on April 16.
• The 20-year-old was a reformed criminal
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority has launched a manhunt to unravel the suspect behind the death of Kelvin Gitau.
Gitau is said to have been in police hands before being found dead at City Mortuary in Nairobi on April 16.
The 20-year-old reformed criminal in Mlango Kubwa was allegedly felled by a crime buster known as Rashid in the area. He is among the four young men shot dead on Tuesday 16 at Mlango Kubwa in Mathare.
The police said they were hardcore criminals, but those on the ground hold a different view.
His story was told by Juliet Wanjira, a nursery school teacher, who is among the founders of the Mathare Social Justice Centre. Wanjira yesterday told the Star that Gitau was arrested in January this year on suspicion that he had snatched an iPhone from a woman. He was, however, not taken to the police station and booked.
“They arrested him at night and bundled him in the boot of a Probox. They drove him around the city throughout the night and the following day,” she said.
Wanjira said the crime buster had demanded that they give Sh100,000 to the complainant or they should prepare to bury Gitau.
“It is at this point that Gitau’s mother rushed to our office and found me. She begged that we look for money to enable her son live,” Wanjira said.
According to IPOA statutory act (Section 25), the authority is required to investigate deaths and serious injuries caused by Police action.
IPOA chairperson Anne Makori on Thursday said the authority has started investigations to expose the circumstances which led to the death, and more particularly whether police officers were involved.
IPOA has also started investigations in to a similar incident where five young men in Mlango Kubwa in Pangani, Nairobi county, were allegedly killed by the police.
The authority has said it is carrying out an independent investigation and promised to take serious actions against police officers found to have used excessive force to an extent of causing their death.
“Upon conclusion, if culpability is found, the authority will ensure the responsible officers face the full force of the law through appropriate criminal and/or disciplinary recommendations to the Director of Public Prosectutions,” IPOA said.