, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 20- Human Rights Organisation, Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) is calling for an independent audit of the Trans-Nzoia incident that led to the killing of 5 people and injuries to several among them 16 police officers.
This was after police engaged members of the public who managed to rescue a suspect who was being led to the cells while in handcuffs.
In a statement, IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama said an inquiry on the entire incident “must be carried out by right groups dealing with policing in order to establish what exactly transpired.”
He called on authorities to ensure all GSU officers from Chepchoina camp who were deployed in the operation are suspended or moved from the area, to ensure they don’t compromise with the ongoing investigations.
Also in their list of demands is; “All officers at the Kolongolo Police Post who were on duty and were involved in the operation for individual culpability, the removal of the entire team of Kolongolo police officers, replacing them with a new team, to allow for easing of tensions and reduction of the intimidation victims, witnesses and family members by the suspects in this case. These officers should not be redeployed to new stations during the duration of the investigations to allow access by investigators.”
Already the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has sent a team of investigators to probe the incident with a view of bringing those found culpable to book.
Police said an officer was forced to open fire when people tried to snatch a firearm from him after freeing the suspect who was being taken to a patrol base station in Endebess.
During the confrontation, police said, the irate mob managed to escape bodies of the two people shot, and it is believed many of them are also seeking treatment from injuries sustained in the violent scenes.
Three more others succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment.
But IMLU is skeptical and have already started their own investigations to compliment what IPOA and police Internal Affairs Unit are doing.
“We appeal to all eye witnesses and anybody else with evidence on this killing to come forward and present their information,” Kiama appealed. “It should be noted that the current status of police killings in Kenya is both alarming and disconcerting.”
IMLU records show that 878 people died from police bullets between 2013- November 2018.
In 2018 alone, they have documented over 114 cases of people killed by police.
According to Kiama, most of these killings are neither not reported to IPOA according to the law nor investigated.
“We commend all police officers who have embraced the ongoing reforms and urge those officers with information on these killings to liaise with IPOA to ensure that we rid the force of those not willing to change,” he asserted.
“We commit to supporting the families of the deceased to carry out an independent autopsy to confirm the manner in which the deaths happened, and to pursue justice based on the findings of our investigations.”
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet later issued a statement calling for a probe but warned civilians against attacking police officers.
The National Police Service Act 2011 Schedule 6 (B) provides that “Firearms may only be used when less extreme measures are inadequate, and for the following purposes: a) saving or protecting the life of the officer or other persons; and b) self-defense or in defense of other person against imminent threat of life or serious injury.”