Our sons weren't terrorists, families of slain men insist

Locals mills around the house of the terror suspect killed by Anti-terrorism police at Ngombeni in Kwale county on August 30. [Weldon Kipkemoi, Standard]
A human rights group and families of two men shot dead last week in Mombasa and Kwale have denied police claims that the two were terrorists.

On Thursday last week, officers from the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) shot and killed 45-year-old Hamza Mohamed in Bombolulu, Mombasa. They claimed Mohamed was a terrorist.

In Kwale, police killed 26-year-old Mohamed Rashid Mwanyiro, who they claimed was involved in the murder of a naval officer.

But the two men's relatives and Muslim for Human Rights (Muhuri) have refuted the officers' claims. 

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They now want the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) to probe the two incidents, saying the men were victims of extrajudicial killings.

"This was extrajudicial killing. We want an independent probe because the police account of the two incidents do not add up," said Muhuri in a report.

According to Muhuri, up to 30 people have been killed by police since 2017.

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Police have denied extrajudicial killing claims, saying the suspects were dangerous criminals who disobeyed an order to surrender.

Nyali Sub-county Police Commander Simon Thirikwa said Mohammed alias Modi, hurled a grenade at the police before he was gunned down.

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But Muhuri has refuted these claims, saying Mohamed was executed.

“Witnesses said police removed him from his room, already dead and did not confiscate any weapon or explosives,” states a report by Muhuri.

According to Muhuri's Rapid Response Officer Francis Auma, key witnesses interviewed said five police officers flashed out Mohamed's neighbours before they stormed his house.

“When we visited the crime scene, the ferocity of the murder was all over. There were bloodstains on the corridor, door, walls and water jerricans,” said Mr Auma.

According to Muhuri, Mohamed was shot at close range.

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In the Kwale incident, police insist Mwanyiro was involved in the murder of Corporal David Githinji.

Githinji, who was attached to Mtongwe naval base, was killed and his body burnt inside a disused house in Likoni.

"Mwanyiro was recruited into Al Shabaab while still in high school and rose through the ranks to head a cell of 10 operatives in Likoni," said police.

Police also linked Mwanyiro to the murder of village elder, Bakari Dondo and a Muslim cleric, Sheikh Shee Omar.

Kwale police boss Tom Odero described Mwanyiro as a violent criminal killed in a shootout.

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But Mwanyiro's family has denied the claims, insisting he was murdered by police. Mohamed Khamis, the family's spokesman, said Mwanyiro's body had a broken wrist and bullet holes in the chest, head and neck.

“Mwanyiro was shot at least six times. If one is a criminal let the police arrest and charge him,” said Khamis.

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