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Activist roughed up over Ongeri demos

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 26 – A leading civil society activist Tom Aosa claims he was detained and assaulted at the Nyayo stadium police post on Saturday by security agents who accused him of organising protests against Education Minister Professor Sam Ongeri.

Mr Aosa said he was driving on Lang’ata road at about 2am when a saloon car full of plainclothes police officers blocked him before officers proceeded to pull him out of the car.

“At first I thought they are carjackers and then they introduced themselves as army officers but I could tell they were police officers. They were driving on the wrong side of the road,” Aosa told Capital News when he visited our offices at Lonrho House on Sunday.

“I came out of the vehicle and as we argued, I removed their car keys and ran towards Nyayo stadium police post where I informed an officer on duty and he accompanied me to the scene, less than 50 meters away but once we got there, the plainclothes police officers spoke to him and they dragged me to the station where they beat me up in the cells,” he said of what he termed “the worst experience of my life.”

After two hours, Mr Aosa said he was released and demanded to have the matter recorded in the Occurrence Book but the officers dismissed him and sent him away.

All this time, he said, two occupants who were in his car were outside the police station where they too were threatened of dire consequences if they continued accompanying the activist.

“Even my lawyer who was driving behind me was at the station and they witnessed the entire episode and even heard how I was screaming from the cells where the officers were beating me up,” he added.

Mr Aosa who is the head of the Community Based Organisations countrywide said the officers kept asking him why he was organising demonstrations against Prof Ongeri over the loss of Sh4.2 billion meant for Education programmes.

He said he suffered injuries on the neck and arms and that he intends to acquire a P3 to institute proceedings against the officers.

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He also complained of difficulties in hearing and suspects that his right eardrum was partly damaged.

“I don’t understand why I should be beaten up by police officers inside a police station, if there is a crime I have committed I am always ready to face the law and not the wrath of errant police officers who are being used to intimidate Kenyans,” he said and denied involvement in planning or participating in the anti-Ongeri demonstrations.

Soon after being released, Mr Aosa and his friends headed to the Lang’ata Police station where he made a formal complaint.

“They told me the matter will be thoroughly investigated but I doubt that and that is why I intend to pursue it with the complaint department at the police headquarters,” he said.

“The officers old me I was lucky because I was with people in my car. I could be dead by now. They even told my friends that if they continue walking around with me, they will be killed,” he said.

Mr Aosa said he will not be cowed by the attack and has now vowed to join civil society activists outside Jogoo House on Monday to exert pressure on Ongeri to resign.

Activists led by Okiya Omatatah of Kenyans for Justice and Development (KEJUDE) have been camping at the Education Ministry headquarters at Jogoo House, demanding Ongeri’s resignation.

On Wednesday last week, the activists were attacked by street boys who smeared them with human faeces.

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