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Officers suspected of torture show up at HQs only to be arrested

NYANZA
By Patrick Vidija and James Omoro | November 26th 2021

The four police officers when they appeared before Homa Bay Court. [Courtesy]

Four officers suspected of torturing two university students in Homa Bay are coming to terms with the force of the law.

Constables Abner Marienga, Timothy Kirichi Kuria, Steve Bongo and Sgt Shadrack Kavala had reported at the Kenya Police Internal Affairs Unit only to be arrested.

Now the matter is in court. Prosecution reports from the National Police Service Internal Affairs Unit show how the four officers attached at Gingo Police Post of Magunga police station in Homa Bay county, stormed into the house where Bromick Asoyo Netanyahu, a student at Daystar University and his friend Brian Onyango were sleeping at Sindo market.

According to the report, the officers without any provocation descended on the two with heavy blows, kicks and severely attacked them with metal rods occasioning the two young men serious body injuries.

The incident happened on the night of July 29, 2019.

IAU’s report indicates that the four officers later unlawfully searched Asoyo’s house and took away a smartphone Infinix hot 6 and assorted Safaricom cards worth Sh8,000 and some Sh11,000 in cash.

“Asoyo and his friend were later that material night frog marched to Gingo Police Post while naked and bleeding as a result of the assault,” the unit said.

The officers having realised their mistake allegedly planted exhibit of bang and went further and charged the two before Mbita law courts for being in possession of the substance.

The unit said what baffled many at Mbita law courts including the trial Magistrate was the manner in which the two were escorted to court to take plea.

“They appeared in court while naked only putting on inner wears (sic),” read part of IAU’s statement.

Due to the injustices meted on the young Asoyo and his buddy, his mother Mrs Sabina Atieno Asoyo filed a case with Homa Bay County Police Commander complaining against the mistreatment of her son.

However, the frustrations she encountered in the hands of Senior Police officers in Homabay while seeking justice for her son, prompted her to run to IAU offices in Nairobi for assistance.

“The Unit undertook the investigation after the Director of Public Prosecutions Office in Homa Bay withdrew the case from court. On completion, the Unit forwarded the resultant file to ODPP headquarters for perusal and advise,” the unit said.

The four police officers when they appeared before Homa Bay Court. [Court]

It added, “It was upon review of the evidence that the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji directed that the four officers who tortured Asoyo and his friend be arrested and charged with the offence of assault and abuse office.”

The said officers were arrested on Thursday when they appeared before the Director of the Internal Affairs Unit on the strength of summons issued to them last week.

They were escorted and later processed at Capitol Hill Police Station.

The officers were released on cash bail of Sh10, 000 to enable them to appear before Homa Bay law courts to plea.

The four appeared before Homa Bay magistrate where they were released on a Sh10,000 cash bail or alternative bond of Sh50,000.

They were presented before Homa Bay law courts and charged with assault causing bodily harm and abuse of office.

The case will be mentioned on Jan 17, 2022.

The DPP recommended that the four must face stern disciplinary action including former in charge Gingo Police post-Chief Inspector Barasa for being negligent in his duty.

“The officer found that the two young men had been severely beaten but failed to ensure that they were taken to hospital on time. Further, Barasa did not initiate any action against his Officers for assaulting innocent members of public,” DPP Haji said.

Reached for comment, Mrs Asoyo said she holds the view that the officers must be punished for the shame they caused to her son and his friend.

“Let them be punished because many families like me are suffering but afraid to come forth. If it were not for IAU, the case would not have seen the light,” she said.

Mrs Asoyo said police officers must be reminded that wearing a uniform, carrying a gun and bragging about being uniformed officers does not put them above the law.

“I have brothers who are police officers and we always remind them that they must abide to the oath they took. They draw salaries from our tax and therefore have a responsibility to protect all of us,” she said.

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