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IPOA begins probe on Masimba killings as residents demand justice

 Kajiado leaders led by Governor Joseph Ole Lenku console victims at the Makindu Sub-county hospital who were injured during a demonstration to protest increased cases of human-wildlife conflict in the area. [Petersn Githaiga, Standard]

Independent, Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA) has started investigations into the killings of four people during a protest in Kajiado county.

Four people were shot dead in Masimba last Thursday when residents barricaded the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway, to protest an increase in human-wildlife conflict in the area.

Police said the protests turned ugly when demonstrators hurled stones at a GSU lorry during the incident that also saw several people injured.

 IPOA CEO, Elema Halake, said once the Authority completes its report, it will forward the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“Our officers have been camping here to take the necessary reports and so far, IPOA has taken statements from state agencies, local administrations, victims who have been injured, and members of the public among other witnesses,” said Mr Halake at Makindu Sub- County hospital, Makueni County

He noted that postmortem will be conducted today. 

“We are working closely with Kajiado County Government to ensure that the process of postmortem is done properly,” he said.

On Saturday, leaders shelved their campaigns and gathered to console victims of the shootings. Led by Governor Joseph Ole Lenku, the leaders, termed police handling of demonstrators ‘inhumane’ and urged the government to hold accountable those behind the killings. 

On Friday, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i visited the area and assured residents of government support.

He condemned the shooting and apologised to the affected families.

“I want to apologise and also assure you of your safety. Through the Inspector General of Police, the internal police unit, we will take action on the police officers who were involved,” said Matiang’i.

He also said the government will provide a compensation of Sh1.5 billion for any loss of lives, and property that has been pending as a result of human-wildlife conflict in Kajiado County.

During the meeting, it also emerged that some locals had grabbed land along a wildlife corridor of Mikululo, which has resulted in elephants moving freely from Amboseli National Park-Kyullu and Tsavo West national park.

The CS said they will be meeting leaders from Makueni and Kajiado to find a solution on the disputed land.

Angry locals complained that seven schools have remained closed for months due to the elephant menace.

“Seven schools have been closed since parents withdrew their children fearing for their lives,” said Kakuta Hamisi, a leader.

Khalid Hussein from the lobby group called for an immediate arrest of the GSU officers alleged to be behind the shooting. “One of the bodies has gunshot wounds on the neck. We demand for justice,” said Mr Hussein.

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