Driver shot by police in unclear circumstances

The driver who was shot in the left thigh by a senior police officer is wheeled to a ward at the Embu Level Five Hospital. [Joseph Muchiri, Standard]
A matatu driver is nursing a gunshot wound after a senior police officer attached to Embu Police Station allegedly shot him on Monday evening.

The 38-year-old man was driving a 14-seater matatu from Meru to Nairobi when police flagged him down at Kangaru.

The police inspector, who was in the company of his juniors, reportedly targeted the matatu after being informed by colleagues at Chuka Police Station that the driver was armed.

But according to the conductor, John Kinuthia, and the passengers, the driver had quarreled with Tharaka-Nithi County enforcement officers before speeding off.

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The county workers are said to have reported the matter at the Chuka Police Station and obtained an Occurrence Book number. They also informed Embu police.

Embu Police Commander Daniel Rukunga, who spoke on the phone, said the report they got from one of the enforcement officers was that the driver had stopped to pick up passengers at an undesignated spot.

The officer said the driver fled when he was threatened with arrest.

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Mr Rukunga said the enforcement officers also reported that the driver and his conductor  allegedly threatened them with a gun.

The police boss said officers in Embu waited for the matatu to check whether the crew had a gun. He added that the driver was shot in the left thigh when the matatu arrived at the roadblock.

Enforcement officers

Rukunga said that when they interrogated the conductor, he claimed that a woman said to be one of the enforcement officers had stopped them and demanded to be taken to Blue Post in Thika. When they declined, her colleagues attempted to arrest them.

The conductor claimed that because the enforcement officers were not in official uniform, they feared they could be robbers.

“We have not yet established under what circumstances the police officer shot at the driver and injured him. We have summoned the enforcement officers and the conductor to record statements. We will also interview the driver, when he stabilises, to find the truth,” Rukunga said.

He added that they will hand over the file to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to advise them on the next course of action.

“After that we will be able to take the necessary measures against whoever will be found to have committed an offence,” he noted.

A woman who was riding on a motorcycle when the incident occurred said that when the matatu arrived at the roadblock, the police officer aimed his weapon at the driver and shot at the front right door.

The bullet tore through the metal and struck the driver as bewildered passengers and passers-by scampered for safety.

The police officers then took the injured driver to the Embu Level Five Hospital where he was admitted.

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Embu Police StationDriver killedChuka Police StationMeru