Hunter becomes the hunted as police officers arrested

A traffic police officer (center) based at Kisumu Central Police station in handcuffs after he and his colleagues were arrested for taking bribes along the Kisumu-Busia and Kisumu-Kakamega roads. [Courtesy]

Detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) yesterday arrested five police officers in Kisumu.

The officers were manning roadblocks at Mamboleo and near the Kisumu International Airport.

Residents and motorists were treated to dramatic scenes during the early morning sting operation.

Witnesses told The Standard that trouble started when officers manning the roadblocks defied orders to surrender to the EACC detectives.

The officers fled with EACC detectives and some residents hot in pursuit. One officer escaped while another cocked his gun and fired several shots during the melee. A female colleague was hit.

“One of the police officers jumped into a ditch and broke his leg,” said Joseph Opiyo, a matatu conductor.

Mr Opiyo claimed gunshots rent the air as the officers and locals scampered for safety.

“We were approaching the roadblock when we saw the officers take to their heels,” said Irene Otieno, a passenger.

The EACC officers ransacked a vehicle used by the traffic personnel before driving it to Mamboleo Police Station.

The two injured officers were taken to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The arrests come barely a day after the commission released a damning report, which rated the National Police Service third among the most corrupt entities.

Yesterday, several traffic police officers visited their arrested colleagues at the EACC Kisumu offices as they were being booked.

EACC Regional Deputy Director Aura Chibole confirmed the arrests and said the operation was planned after the commission received several complaints from the public.

“One of their officers accidentally shot a female officer as he tried to escape. She has been taken to hospital for treatment,” said Mr Aura.

The detective said the commission will conduct a ballistic examination to establish the identity of the officer who fired the shots.

Regional Police Commander Vincent Makokha said the arrests were part of efforts to enforce ethics among public officers.

“We are in support of the fight against corruption and other vices. It also touches on ethics of public officers,” said Mr Makokha.

Following the arrests, all traffic police officers withdrew from the roads as matatu operators welcomed the arrests.

A number of them told The Standard that some traffic police officers had developed a habit of collecting bribes from them every day.

It was not immediately known what charges, if any, the officers would face, or why they had been arrested.