Viral video of police battering varsity students genuine – IPOA

April 20, 2016 4:02 pm
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A statement from IPOA said there is sufficient evidence confirming that GSU officers pulled dozens of students from their hostels and lined them down before whipping them/FILE
A statement from IPOA said there is sufficient evidence confirming that GSU officers pulled dozens of students from their hostels and lined them down before whipping them/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 20 – The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has now confirmed that University of Nairobi students were assaulted by General Service Unit (GSU) officers during a recent strike as seen in a video that went viral on social media.

A statement from IPOA said there is sufficient evidence confirming that GSU officers pulled dozens of students from their hostels and lined them down before whipping them.

Overview
  • The strike led to the closure of the university that has since suspended more than 200 students accused of orchestrating the violence
  • Students took to the streets to protest the outcome of their union elections which some claimed was rigged to favour the incumbent chairman Babu Owino who was contesting against Mike Jacobs
  • The latter is among the students facing disciplinary action over the chaos that led to the destruction of property of unknown value

“The alleged assault actually occurred and that the same was perpetrated by police officers deployed on an anti-riot operation within the university,” a statement from IPOA said of the April 2 incident that sparked outrage across the nation when a video showing the officers whipping students circulated on social media. There was no evidence, however, showing that a female student was raped as earlier claimed.

IPOA now says it has documented evidence showing that several students had sustained serious injuries during the assault that occurred on State House Road.

“Available evidence show that the assaulted students were not part of the skirmishes caused by rioting students and were instead pulled from the ADD building and halls of residence as they went about with revision for exams that were due,” the state-funded organisation said, although complaining that it did not receive adequate cooperation from the National Police Service during the investigation.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet had earlier insisted that the video was not authentic, saying it had been recorded in 2008.

IPOA now says it is still pursuing the matter with a view of taking legal action against officers involved.

“IPOA is of the firm view that the National Police Service should have been able to take appropriate action against from both the university of Nairobi administration and National Police Service but investigations will continue and if necessary criminal action will be pursued against any person obstructing the investigations,” the statement said, adding “IPOA particularly expects full co-operation from the National Police Service in identifying the police officers involved in the assault.”

The strike led to the closure of the university that has since suspended more than 200 students accused of orchestrating the violence.

Students took to the streets to protest the outcome of their union elections which some claimed was rigged to favour the incumbent chairman Babu Owino who was contesting against Mike Jacobs.

The latter is among the students facing disciplinary action over the chaos that led to the destruction of property of unknown value.

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