, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 23 – Six police officers who were involved in Sunday’s security operation in Dandora where two women were killed by stray bullets have been suspended as an investigation into their conduct got underway.
The officers in the rank of constables were ordered to surrender their firearms on Monday morning to facilitate a probe.
“These officers are under investigation… we want to establish if they were justified to open fire and if they followed the right procedures in the operation,” Nairobi Deputy Police chief Moses Nyakwama said.
The officers are blamed for the fatal shooting of two innocent women during the security operation on Sunday afternoon. “Their firearms have been taken for ballistic examination to determine who amongst them shot at the crowd,” Nyakwama said.
Three children caught in the crossfire between the officers and a group of criminals were also wounded and are admitted to hospital.
“This was an unfortunate incident,” Nyakwama said.
Police have formally apologised to affected families of the dead women and the three wounded children.
An initial report of the investigation has shown that the officers opened fire when a charged crowd attempted to block them from arresting known criminals in the area.
The residents had accused the officers of arresting the criminals and releasing them on several occasions, without taking them to court.
When the officers realised they would be overpowered by the charged crown, they opened fire.
“They were mainly shooting in the air. Those shot were most likely hit by stray bullets, because they were not the target,” one senior police officer privy to the probe said.
Kenyan police have been on the spot on several occasions for excessive use of force, often leading to fatalities.
They are also blamed for shooting at innocent civilians during the country’s deadly violence that rocked the nation after disputed election of 2007, whose aftermath is a subject of international trials in The Hague.
ICC judges recently dismissed a case against then police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali who was accused of leading a force “which killed hundreds of people besides failing to contain the violence.”
The Hague-based Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has announced he is carrying out a fresh investigation and could file new charges against the ex-police chief.
Others facing charges in The Hague for either planning or financing the poll violence include Uhuru, son of Kenya’s founding President Jomo Kenyatta, former Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura, Kass FM radio presenter Joshua arap Sang and Eldoret North MP William Ruto.
Both Uhuru and Ruto are seen as leading contenders in a presidential election due in the country on March 4, 2013.