, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 9 – In a rare show of solidarity with the police, residents of Githurai on Tuesday completely barricaded the busy Thika Superhighway for the entire day, demanding the release of an officer held for killing a suspect.
The residents were protesting the arrest of the Administration Police officer attached to Kasarani Police Station.
Despite police lobbing teargas to disperse them, the residents in their hundreds vowed to stay put until their ‘saviour cop’ was released and allowed to resume his duties.
Titus Musila was charged following recommendations by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA). The policeman was last Friday charged over the death of a suspect last year.
Musila is accused of killing Kenneth Kimani Mwangi in Githurai, Nairobi on April 14, 2013.
IPOA which investigated the death, opened inquiries after a key witness in the trial, Oscar Muchoki Mwangi, was also shot dead on August 24 this year.
The victims were brothers, and the second one was also killed in Githurai, just three days after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ordered the arrest and prosecution of the officer.
After a fruitless daylong ‘engagement’ with the residents, the police had to call for reinforcements from the General Service Unit.
“This is the first time ever in the history of this country that members of the public have defended a police officer like this,” one of the officers was overheard saying.
Another said: “This is just amazing, but at least they should not interfere with other people who are not involved.”
Those who spoke to Capital FM News described Musila – whom they fondly refer to as Katitu – as committed to his job in dealing ruthlessly with criminals.
“For those few days he has not been around, those who used to steal from women at the market and those at the bus terminus are back,” Patrick Mwangi complained.
“They stole Sh21, 000 yesterday at an M-PESA store… they said we should now call our Katitu.”
It’s understood that Musila offered amnesty to trouble makers in the area before dealing with them mercilessly.
“Katitu would give you fare (in exchange for abandoning crime) to go back (to your rural) home. He is like Tyson, the Dandora officer who works like him,” Monica Wangeci said.
They vowed to block the road again on Wednesday until Musila was set free.
“He has been our help, he is the only cop together with other four whom you are very sure will respond to your call at any time,” Isaac Warunge a resident said.
“He has been able to win the trust of the Githurai people; he knows how to get them (thugs). We are ready to camp here until tomorrow even if they beat us.”
Josiah Owour who said that he works as an informer of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority also showered the officer with praise saying; “We also need to think of the families of those police officers killed in the line of duty. Police too have rights.”
“Does it mean that police will now be seeing criminals commit their evil deeds without acting?” he posed.
Kasarani Police Chief Augustine Thumbi who spoke to journalists during the protest said the matter is in court, but also described Musila as an efficient officer.
“The matter is in court so I won’t say much about it but he is now under investigation. But it is true that for almost three years although a junior officer, he was charged with responsibility of maintaining security in Githurai 45, Githurai 44 and Zimmerman and since he is quite devoted, he has been able to make sure the public is comfortable,” he stated.
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