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Puzzle of Americans near scene of Pakistani journalist's murder

National
 Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif Muhammad. [Courtesy, Standard]

The presence of at least six Americans at Ammodump Ranch, Kajiado county and their airlift after the shooting of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif Muhammad has added a new twist to the saga.

Documents filed in court by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) indicate that the six were invited by the United States embassy in Nairobi and left shortly after the incident.

Investigators indicated that they were not in Ammodumo a day after Sharif was shot dead.

However, Ipoa in its exchanges with the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) said that they were seeking to know from the embassy why there were no statements from the six, what they had gone to do on the property, and records of their activities.

The Authority is also seeking information on how the six gained entry into Kenya and on whose invitation.  

Ipoa said the US embassy had confirmed that the six had conducted training courses for Kenya police in October 2022.

It stated that a similar letter to the embassy was written to the Inspector General of Police who is yet to reply.

The correspondence between Ipoa and DPP are contained in a case filed by Sharif’s widow Javera Siddique, Kenya Union of Journalists and Kenya Correspondents Association who accuse Ipoa, DPP, Inspector General of Police, and National Police Service Commission of failing to charge the officers who killed the deceased.

Sharif, 50 years old, died of gunshot wounds on October 23, 2022.

Officers from the GSU camp in Magadi are said to have shot at the vehicle that the journalist was travelling in after the driver allegedly defied orders to stop.

The then police spokesman, Bruno Shioso, said the GSU officers had been informed by their counterparts in Nairobi that a car with similar registration details to the one Sharif was driving was reported stolen in Nairobi.

However, Ipoa’s report in court indicated a different story.

At the time Sharif was killed, he was travelling alongside his brother, Khurram Ahmed along the Kueni-Kamukuru Murram road in Kajiado county.

The police said the GSU had erected a roadblock following an alert that a white Mercedes-Benz ML350, registration number KDJ 700F, had been stolen in Ngara, Nairobi.

However, the Ipoa report stated that the vehicle that had been reported stolen by the police in Ngara was intercepted at the Delta petrol station at the Magadi-Isinya road junction.

According to the authority's investigations, one of the suspects had communicated to Chief Inspector Julius Some informing him that they had shot the wrong person.

The vehicle had one bullet hole on the left side of the windscreen, where Sharif was sitting, two bullet holes on the rear left back screen, one hole on the rear right door, four holes on the right side of the boot and one front tire had been deflated.

It also emerged that the government pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor said Sharif was killed using a high-velocity gun but it was difficult to ascertain the time of death.

Siddique in her case accused the DPP, Ipoa and Inspector General of Police of delaying bringing the killers to justice. She asserted that they kept her in the dark.

Her lawyer, Dudley Ochiel claimed that the officers involved were never interdicted or suspended pending investigations. 

“Ipoa, the Inspector General and National Police Service, and the Director of Public Prosecution have since ignored Javeria Sidique’s request for a status update on the investigations. Moreover, none of the respondents has taken any action against the police officers involved in the unlawful killing of Arshad Sharif,” stated Ochiel. 

Ipoa in its response said that it had done its best and handed findings to the DPP. On the other hand, the DPP said investigations were complex.

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