By Titus Too
Erastus Chemorei Kirui was executed in broad daylight without any reasonable excuse.
An inquest into his death revealed gory details of how Chemorei was ambushed by a group of between 40 and 50 police officers and sprayed with bullets.
In the findings, the magistrate said officers, whose identities senior security agents in the region failed to disclose, carried out the action.
"In conclusion, I do find that the deceased person was without any reasonable excuse executed in broad daylight," said Eldoret Senior Principal Magistrate Ann Onginjo in her ruling dated August 19, and certified last Wednesday.
The inquest was to establish the cause of death of Chemorei, which occurred on February 19, 2005, when police officers from Kitale Police Station raided his Kitalale home allegedly to recover arms following a tip-off by an informer. Erastus Kirui Chemorei, the then adjutant of the General Service Unit training school Ruaraka who was executed by police officers infront of his family. [PICTURE: FILE]
Erastus Kirui Chemorei, the then adjutant of the General Service Unit training school Ruaraka who was executed by police officers infront of his family. [PICTURE: FILE]
And on Friday, his anguished widow Judith Chesoi Chemorei urged the State to ensure justice was done over the execution, saying she and her family had undergone untold suffering.
Chesoi said the family was organising this year’s memorial of the former Senior Superintendent of Police.
After considering the evidence of 39 witnesses, the inquest found that Chemorei was sprayed with bullets from long- and close-range and from all directions.
"There were at least seven bullet entry points into the deceased’s body, leading to the conclusion that death was a result of multiple injuries in the head and in both hands," read part of the ruling.
The lead investigator Lilian Kiambaa said Chemorei –sx being unarmed – should have been arrested and not shot dead.
She said she would have preferred charges had she identified the persons who fired the fatal shots.
In her determination, Onginjo, currently Chief Magistrate in Kisii, said there were many theories why the deceased had to be shot and the popular one repeated by almost all police officers, who testified, was that he attempted to escape.
But none of them, including those who had been assigned to guard him, admitted shouting that he was running away.
The magistrate said there were discrepancies on the number of police officers involved in the operation. The then Kitale OCPD Augustine Kimanteria and the DCIO, Julius ole Sunkuli, also testified.
No register produced
The magistrate noted that the DCIO did not have the names of the 40 to 50 police officers he led to the raid and there was no register produced for issuance of firearms.
"Differences as to the number of officers in the operation raises eyebrows as to whether the intent of the operation was to recover arms. Evidence shows there was more to it than meets the eye," read the magistrate’s ruling.
She added: "My view of these findings is that they would have been relevant if excessive force was not used to apprehend the deceased who had been subdued.
"Even assuming that the firearms were recovered and it was proved he was the one hiding them, this country has sufficient laws to deal with every circumstance. He would either have been charged with being in possession of firearms without certificate or robbery with violence."
Onginjo ruled the inquest closed under Section 387 (4) of Criminal Procedure Code and directed that a copy of the ruling be forwarded to the Attorney General.
The chairman of the National Council of NGOs Ken Wafula said they had communicated to the Director of Public Prosecutions their intention to institute private prosecution if the officers involved in the operation were not arrested and charged.