IG Koome accuses Azimio of hiring dead bodies during protests

Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome during a presser at Kiganjo Police College in Nyeri County on August 8, 2023. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

The Inspector General of Police (IG), Japheth Koome, has defended the conduct of police officers during the anti-government protests against the high cost of living.

The IG accused the opposition of hiring dead bodies by colluding with morgue attendants to taint the 'good image of the National Police Service’ during the demos.

Koome said that his officers did not take part in fuelling the violence that was witnessed during the protests after reports of police using live bullets to disperse protesters emerged.

While addressing journalists at the Kiganjo Police College on Tuesday, August 8, Koome said those were allegations based on propaganda, aimed at tarnishing the institution’s name.

“It is very unfortunate to see the members of the society going to mortuaries, hiring dead bodies and calling the media saying that these people (the dead bodies) were killed by police. How low can some of our leaders sink?”

He added that such claims will not stop the police force from exercising their constitutional duty of maintaining law and order without fear or favour.

He said that the service will not be cowed by threats of being taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over human rights violations during the protests.

This is after a section of Azimio coalition MPs led by Homa Bay town MP Peter Kaluma and Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo threatened to sue Koome at ICC, after collecting evidence against him over orders issued to the police.

The IG warned anyone planning to hold demonstrations saying that they will be met with equal force.

During the demonstrations, one police officer died while a total of 305 suffered from injuries while nine police stations were damaged and 158 vehicles destroyed.

Koome added that the will not condone attacks on his officers or police stations as was witnessed.

He urged the youths to be careful so that they are, “not deceived by politicians, these are people who are selfish.”

He requested Kenyans to stay calm so that peace can prevail as Kenya Kwanza and the Azimio coalition engage in bipartisan talks.

Koome commended the National Police Service saying they have been playing their role accordingly.

“What they have done in recent years is commendable. I wish I had medals to give all of them, they have been doing a good job.”

According to the Law Society of Kenya and Amnesty International, 24 people were killed during the anti-government protests in the Western and Nyanza regions.

The lobby groups in their report said that 41 people suffered injuries.

Human Rights groups reported that more than 30 people were killed countrywide.