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Coast leaders condemn police over killings

COAST
By Linah Benyawa | July 23rd 2016
Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho

The shooting to death of two men in Kisauni, Mombasa, by police over claims of being terrorists has sparked protests from politicians and human rights groups. Yesterday, police shot dead another man in Kisauni for allegedly abducting women. The officers claimed he was part of a gang that opened fire after they foiled a robbery.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho and officials of Haki Africa, a human rights organisation, condemned Thursday’s killings of Salim Hanjary Bedzimba and Kibwana Ahmed Abdalla.

Joho and Haki Africa’s Programmes Coordinator Francis Auma said the duo were killed in cold blood and demanded an investigation by the Independe

Some reports indicate Salim was related to Kisauni MP Rashid Bedzimba, claims we could not independently verify.

Mr Auma accused the state of provoking anger and anxiety through the killings. Hundreds of youths and relatives accompanied the two bodies for prayers at a local mosque, through the streets of Junda, before they were buried.

Joho said police ought to explain why they killed Salim who he claimed they (police) have been in constant communication for some time.

“It doesn’t matter if Salim was related to Bedzimba. He was also my friend and police knew they were planning to kill him because they have been in communication with him and on Thursday they decided to go to his house where they murdered him in cold blood,” he claimed.

Relatives who spoke to The Standard on Saturday denied that weapons were found on Salim and Ahmed. They also refuted claims that the duo were killed during a shootout with police where an officer was injured.

Auma warned that “extrajudicial killings by police have returned after some lull,” and told The Standard on Saturday that family and witness accounts contradict police statements that Salim and Ahmed were killed in an exchange of fire.

“We have been told they were shot in front of their families. There was no grenade and there was no fire exchange,” he said. Kisauni Deputy OCPD Walter Abondo claimed on Thursday evening that the two men opened fire on

Mr Abondo told journalists that 17 bullets, two spent cartridges, three Chinese made grenades, cables, three plastic explosives, two packets of baring, four detonators and one passport were recovered inside the deceased house.

He said that police had information that the suspects were planning to attack a building in Mombasa County. “Police had received reports that there were terror suspects who were planning to attack one of the facilities in Mombasa County. We rushed to the house where they were staying and on seeing the police, they started shooting at them and a shootout ensued. In the process, they were killed and one who had a pistol escaped,” said Abondo.

The governor said the suspects should have been arrested and charged if police had proof of their criminal acts.

“We have information that police raided Salim’s house and asked him to kneel down after which they shot him in the presence of his ten-year-old child. He did not have any weapon on him and I can clearly state that the said explosives were planted by the police,” claimed Joho.

“As we speak now, more than 200 people within Mombasa County have been killed by police and some have disappeared in mysterious circumstances. We are saying enough is enough. We are ready to institute private prosecution and also work with civil society groups to ensure that we get justice for these extra judicial killings,” he said.

Auma also said his organisation would sue the state to compel it to institute a judicial commission of inquiry into illegal killings, gangs and disappearances besides police misconduct.

In yesterday’s incident, a policeman was slashed with a machete when a gang of ten men attacked residents. They kidnapped and robbed women who were going to Kongowea market.

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