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10 officers to be quizzed as IG Joseph Boinnet orders probe

COUNTIES
By Cyrus Ombati | May 18th 2016

At least 10 police officers will be questioned over the brutal crackdown on the Opposition during Monday's protests against the electoral commission.

Sources said the officers identified for questioning by the Internal Affairs Unit include those captured on camera beating up protesters in the demonstrations that rocked Nairobi, Kisumu and Homa Bay.

Commanders of the operations where anti-riot officers used excessive force, including firing live bullets, will also be probed.

The probe team wants to understand the nature of instructions given to the junior officers who assaulted protesters and other pedestrians.

"It is difficult to defend some of these acts which require common sense. We will know what to do next after talking to those so far identified," an officer in the team told The Standard in confidence.

Scene of three police officers with truncheons beating and kicking a man in a green hoodie as he lay subdued on the ground particularly stoked outrage.

Up to 10 victims are nursing injuries in hospital, including two who sustained bullet wounds, an indication that police used live bullets to quell the protests.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said he had ordered a speedy and thorough probe into the brutal conduct, which sparked widespread condemnation yesterday.

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He said action would be taken against officers found to have breached the code of conduct.

The officers first used teargas canisters to disperse the crowd that included CORD and Kanu leaders, before some of them brutally beat those escaping via University Way.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) said police officers who brutally beat up protesters broke the law.

The authority said it was investigating some of the security agents for excessive use of force.

"The police officers who brutally beat up rioters on Monday broke the law," said IPOA chairman Macharia Njeru.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights chairperson Kagwiri Mbogori said they were also investigating claims of police brutality.

"Officers who were commanding the operations on Monday in Kisumu, Nairobi, Kisii and Machakos should be held accountable for violations on the basis of the principle of command responsibility," she said.

And the Law Society of Kenya President Isaac Okero condemned as unlawful, retrogressive and brutal the vicious attacks by police witnessed in Nairobi and Kisumu during protests calling for electoral reforms.

"This is utterly unacceptable. The bludgeoning of an apparently unconscious and unresponsive, unarmed man captured by TV cameras is something Kenyans will expect even the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett to condemn and acknowledge as a manifestation of serious and urgent need for the retraining of his forces," Mr Okero said.

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