, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 27 – The Court of Appeal has acquitted six Administration Police officers who were sentenced to hang for the murder of seven taxi drivers in Kawangware.
Ahmed Omar, Ahmed Shaffi, Michael Lewa, Moses Lochich, Nelson Kipchirchir, and Erick Melchizedek were freed as the Court of Appeal quashed a High Court verdict that condemned them to hang for the offences they allegedly committed in March 2011.
Justices Erastus Githinji, Daniel Musinga and Jamila Mohammed freed the suspects after finding that they killed the taxi drivers in self defenc.
“It is the court’s finding that the appellants acted in self defence during the incident. Unfortunately the trial court failed to consider that testimony during the defence hearing,” the ruling indicated.
Lawyers Kioko Kilukumi and Ismail Abbas had lodged the appeal on behalf of the police officers where they argued that the court failed to take into consideration that the officers acted in self defence after the taxi operators’ allegedly ambushed them with machetes.
The APs were convicted in December 2012 by High Court judge Fred Ochieng who stated that they had common intention to kill the taxi drivers and deserved to be hanged.
Justice Ochieng ruled the officers could not escape criminal responsibility since they used unreasonable excessive force.
The police officers fired 61 bullets and took the lives of Harry Thuku, Joseph Mwangi, James Mwangi, George Thairu, William Njau, Joseph Chege and Thiong’o Njoroge.
They were accused of jointly committing the offence following a business rivalry with boda boda operators.
In their defence, the officers maintained that they shot the deceased persons thinking they were members of the outlawed Mungiki sect.