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Independent Policing Oversight Authority probes woman’s death in Mathare slum shooting

By Cyrus Ombati | July 22nd 2013

By Cyrus Ombati

Nairobi, Kenya: The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has launched investigations into the shooting of a woman by police in Nairobi during an operation to arrest suspected drug traffickers.

A police bullet killed 24-year-old Peris Waithera in Mathare slum as locals tried to prevent the officers from arresting suspected drug traffickers on July 15.

Ms Waithera was breast feeding when the bullet penetrated her iron sheet house killing her on the spot.

IPOA said in a statement it will investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting and independently review any police probe that may have been initiated into the death.

IPOA Act requires the civilian oversight authority to investigate deaths and serious injuries that occur as a result of police action and make recommendations for prosecution, disciplinary action or rectification of policy and procedures of the National Police Service.

A team of police officers had raided Nigeria area in Mathare when they shot and killed the woman while confronting the residents.

This prompted day-long protests by locals who withheld the body of the woman demanding that those responsible for her death be arrested.

Police had arrested two men who they claimed were behind the illegal business in and were driving them away when the confrontation broke out. Nairobi County police boss Benson Kibui said they were investigating the incident.

Nigeria area is notorious for trafficking and consumption of   drugs.   The most abused narcotics there, according to police, are heroin and cocaine.

IPOA also has the mandate to monitor police operations, keep track of police misconduct and oversee the Police Internal Affairs Unit.

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