THIKA, Kenya, Feb 11 – A police officer was shot dead in Thika town on Tuesday night, sparking protests from students of Mt Kenya University, who thought it was one of their colleagues.
Police said that the slain officer was on patrol with a colleague when they stopped six suspects at Ziwani estate.
One of the suspects is reported to have produced a pistol and shot the officer, killing him on the spot.
“The suspects were being checked out and had been asked to produce identity cards when one of them produced a pistol and shot at the officer,” a senior officer at the Central Provincial Police headquarters said.
“The gunmen then escaped while shooting in the air,” he added.
On hearing the gunshots, students from the nearby university rushed out of their quarters and began protests after word went round that it was one of their own that had been killed.
A contingent of police officers combed the school compound searching for the gunmen, fuelling the riots even further.
“Why were they searching thugs in the school compound? They have even declined to show us the body of the purported officer killed,” a student charged.
The students barricaded nearby roads and lit bonfires as they battled it out with the officers.
Several police officers, students and passers-by were injured during the confusion that reigned for the better part of Tuesday night.
On Wednesday morning, the students were still rioting, but returned to their campus at about noon.
Police said that they were still looking for the gunmen who killed the officer.
A senior police officer told Capital News that the gangsters were believed to be responsible for a series of violent robberies reported in the area lately.
“There has been a high crime rate and people say they are attacked by five gunmen; we suspect this is the same group,” another officer said.