NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 26 – The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has commenced a criminal investigation on the murder of a Leeds University student by police in Kibera on Friday.
In a statement sent Wednesday morning, the oversight agency said the investigation into the death of Carilton Maina had been launched independently.
IPOA issued the statement even as the National Police Service (NPS) declined to indicate whether the officer involved in the shooting had been identified and interdicted pending the outcome of the probe.
In a tweet published Wednesday afternoon, NPS Inspector General Joseph Boinnet called for speedy investigations into the matter.
“We wish to inform the public that the Inspector General of Police has asked IPOA to expedite investigations into the shooting incident that occurred in Kibera within Nairobi County in which one Carlton Maina was shot and fatally injured,” NPS tweeted.
“We further wish to assure the public that the Service, just like in similar instances in the past, will enforce the outcome of the investigations that IPOA will recommend,” the police statement read.
Amnesty International Kenya condemned Maina’s killing while urging IPOA and NPS Internal Affairs Unit to “thoroughly investigate” the fatal shooting.
“From all public accounts of the way Carilton David Maina lived his life, he had no criminal record nor was he motivated by crime,” Executive Director Irũngũ Houghton said.
“Maina’s killing at the hands of our Police Officers on the eve of Christmas shatters again the myth that only violent criminals are being killed lawfully. This death has the hallmark of extra-judicial killing and must be comprehensively probed,” he added.
Houghton challenged the police to cooperate in the investigation with the International Commission of Jurists (Kenya) expected to issue a report on Thursday when a postmortem is concluded.
He highlighted the need to withdraw all firearms assigned to the police officer involved as investigations continue.
Josephine Wangari, the mother of the slain student, has since denied claims that her late son may have been involved in illegal activities describing Maina as a forthright person.
He had secured a scholarship to attend Brookhouse Secondary school, thereafter proceeding to the United Kingdom where he was pursuing an engineering degree at Leeds University.
“The killing of my son on grounds that he was a thief really hurts me. My son was an innocent boy,” Wangari said, amid tears.
“This boy was a very honest person. He knew where we’d keep money in the house yet he has never stolen from us,” Maina’s grandmother, Hellen Njeri, said.
Maina’s murder brings to the fore police excesses that had by September resulted in 180 deaths according to human rights groups.
About a dozen officers have been convicted of murder since the year begun among them a former Officer Commanding Station in Ruaraka Nahashon Mutua whom the court, in December, found guilty of torturing a suspect to death some five years ago.
Kevin Odhiambo, was initially charged with the murder of Martin Koome, in what turned out to be a well-orchestrated cover-up to absolve Mutua of wrongdoing.
Trial judge Stella Mutuku had been told deep cuts had been indicted on Koome, his wife telling the court she could hardly recognized the victim who succumbed later to the injuries.
The police officer is awaiting sentencing.
In another landmark ruling in November, two police officers were sentenced to death after the court found them guilty of killing three people on suspicion that they were robbers.
Benjamin Kahindi Changawa and Stanley Okoti, both police constables, shot an officer attached to late Bomachoge lawmaker Joel Onyancha, alongside two relatives.
In October this year, IPOA said it was probing some 243 killings, including 86 assault cases, attributed to police.
Latest statistics by the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) indicate 822 people died from police bullets between 2013 and June 2018.