A video of police officers brutally assaulting a Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) student has prompted the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to take action.
In the video recorded on Monday, four police officers, sent to quell students’ protests are seen repeatedly hitting a man lying on the ground. The JKUAT students had blocked the Thika Superhighway protesting the rise of insecurity around the institution.
The officers are seen kicking and stomping the dreadlocked man’s head as other hit him in the legs using clubs, despite his right foot being in a cast.
Horrified onlookers recording the beating are heard screaming in the background, expressing their intent to share the video with the public.
Condemning the officers’ actions, IPOA said that it has dispatched a team to investigate the use of force by police officers.
“IPOA condemns in the strongest terms possible yesterday's incident in which members of the National Police Service were caught on camera assaulting students at the JKUAT,” a statement by IPOA read, adding that they have dispatched a team “to investigate the use of force, firearms and any other misconduct against Police Officers involved in the incident where JKUAT students were assaulted and injured.”
IPOA dispatches its Rapid Response Team to investigate the use of force, firearms and any other misconduct against Police Officers involved in the incident where JKUAT students were assaulted and injured yesterday ^DD @ntvkenya@citizentvkenya@CapitalFMKenya@K24Tv@TheStarKenyapic.twitter.com/5RnN1fq1QF — IPOA (@IPOA_KE) November 12, 2019
Anger on social media
The video has since been widely circulated on social media, eliciting shock, anger and disgust from Kenyans:
Between January 2018 &July 2019 Kenya police injured 21 people during protests and killed 7.The #jkuat incident isn't isolated.@FredMatiangi needs to ensure the JKUAT incident is a turning point on how police deal with protesters and bystanders #StopPoliceBrutality#FreeToProtestpic.twitter.com/ID36VZ6ofo — Boniface Mwangi (@bonifacemwangi) November 12, 2019
I have observed the events at JKUAT today with profound concern. The use of force by police is clearly outlined in the National Police Standing Orders. — Dr. Fred Matiang'i (@FredMatiangi) November 11, 2019
.@DCI_Kenya can manage to track wale wezi huiba millions kwa bank/ATMs upto their hideouts,,,, but utakua surprised they'll fail to recognize the police who were beating students pale JKUAT???????????????? #Jkuat#StopPoliceBrutality — OmondiWinston (@Itiswinny) November 12, 2019
Following the student’s unrest, the university closed indefinitely with students ordered to immediately vacate the campus.
“In a special meeting of Senate held today, 11th November 2019 at 10.00 am it was resolved that the university closes until further notice,” a memo from the instituting read.