Police say no time to negotiate with armed thugs

January 24, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere says his officers will not negotiate with anyone found in the illegal possession of firearms.

Mr Iteere said his officers were under firm instructions to deal ruthlessly with whoever is found with firearms "because such persons had ulterior motives."

"Rifles are a preserve of police officers," he said. "Anybody with a pistol or AK47, what are they doing with it? What is the purpose?" he posed.

In an apparent reference to the Lang\’ata road shooting of three suspected gangsters who were allegedly executed by police officers, Mr Iteere said they did not time to negotiate with thugs found with firearms.

Mr Iteere issued the warning when he visited two police officers at the Aga Khan Hospital and the Forces Memorial Hospital who are undergoing treatment after they were shot and wounded by gangsters in separate incidents in Nairobi.

"We are not going to negotiate with anyone. We must get rid of firearms that are in the wrong hands because they are threatening the security of our country," the police chief warned.

He said although police headquarters was concerned at the high number of attacks on its officers by criminals, there was no credible evidence to suggest that they were under siege.

"We are not under attack… it is the members of the public who are under attack and that is why we are doing everything at our disposal to ensure the public are safe," Mr Iteere said.

"Our officers are putting their lives at risk to ensure Kenya is safe," he added when he paid a visit to the deputy officer in charge of Shauri Moyo police station Kimathi Marete who is admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi.

Mr Marete was shot by a gang of seven men who ambushed him as he took some soup at a kiosk in the crime-infested Majengo slums, less than a kilometre from the police station.

"He absorbed five bullets but by the grace of God, you can see he is fine," Mr Iteere told journalists in the ward where the officer is admitted.

The deputy OCS was shot once in the neck, twice in the left shoulder and also had two bullets pumped into his stomach.

Some of the bullets exited but the officer has since undergone multiple successful operations to remove those lodged in his body.

At the Forces Memorial Hospital, the police chief who was accompanied by several other senior officers visited Constable Wesley Kipkemboi who was shot and seriously wounded by gunmen in Dandora on Friday night.

"I was on patrol with my fellow officers when we were ambushed and I suddenly heard gunshots and fell down, I can\’t recall what happened next," the officer who spoke from his hospital bed said.

"I am now recovering and I am now feeling much better, I hope to leave hospital soon," Mr Kipkemboi told journalists and added that "the incident has not in any way demoralised me. I am ready to go back to work as soon as I get well."

"I asked for this job and I am ready to do it at all times, this shooting has not affected my morale at all," he added.

Mr Iteere said seven police officers have been shot by gangsters since November last year, including three who died in grenade attacks in Eastleigh and Kasarani.

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