Warders at Kenyan prison protest police shooting

June 17, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – Tension remained high at the Naivasha GK Prison on Thursday after warders staged a go-slow to protest the alleged execution of their colleague by the police.

The protest kicked off late on Wednesday when warders at the penal institution vowed not to escort remandees to court until they got a satisfactory explanation over the shooting.

Trouble started when the warders learnt that one of them had been arrested and interrogated, before being shot under what they described as “controversial circumstances.”

Officials at the Naivasha GK Prison said they had been telephoned by a senior police officer from the area at about 9am asking them to confirm the identity of a warder who had been arrested over the shooting of a traffic policemen earlier.

“I confirmed that and they said they were interrogating him. But less than an hour later, I was telephoned and informed that he had been shot and his body taken to the mortuary.  We went and positively identified it,” the officer in charge of the Naivasha Prison Patrick Mwenda said and named the slain officer as Julius Wafula Sirengo.

The warder was shot dead at about 11am, almost two hours after four gunmen thought to have been his accomplices were killed in Ruaka, following the shooting of the traffic officer on the Nairobi-Naivasha highway.

Police are yet to establish if two of those gunned down in Ruaka were also prison warders.

“We have been able to confirm the killing of one of our officers in Naivasha.  We do not know anything about those in another incident in Ruaka,” Commissioner of Prisons Isaiah Osugo said and declined to confirm reports that he had written to the Police Commissioner to protest the killing.

On Thursday, police insisted that the warder was a criminal who was shot as he tried to escape soon after arrest.

They claimed that the warder was part of the six-man gang which ambushed Highway Traffic Patrol officers less than two kilometres from Naivasha town and opened fire at them, killing one them on the spot.

Another traffic policeman was seriously wounded and was still admitted to hospital on Thursday.

Police headquarters remained silent on the matter but a senior officer who is part of the elite squad that was involved in the Ruaka shootout insisted that those killed by policemen were criminals.

Two other victims are said to have been killed by the thugs.  One was deliberately shot by the gang, while the other was killed by a stray bullet as he watched the unfolding incident from the balcony of a residential building.


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