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How police lost plot and face in the hunt for Sudi

By Cyrus Ombati and Titus Too | September 14th 2020

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi who surrendered to police yesterday. He is to be charged today in Nakuru. [File, Standard]

A senior officer attached to the Presidential Escort Unit is being sought for over claims he helped Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi escape from a police dragnet. Sudi is expected to be arraigned in court today over hate speech charges amid questions over the conduct of police in the saga that appears to have left them with egg on the face.

For two days in a row, a contingent of police camped outside the MP’s Kapseret home with the intention of arresting him. When they eventually gained entry into the premises, Sudi was nowhere to be found. He would later surrender himself at the Langas Police Station within his Kapseret constituency in Uasin Gishu County.

Yesterday, Police Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai and spokesperson Charles Owino did not want to comment on the matter. But a senior officer alluded to the fact that the matter would not be left to rest.

“The operation was led by senior officers and we will know what happened. We will investigate and establish what transpired. It’s a lesson learnt,” he said. Sudi reported at the police in Lan-gas at around 7.30 am yesterday, where he was taken into custody before being airlifted in a police helicopter to Nakuru Central Police Station.

Sudi, alongside his Emuruar Dikiir counterpart Johana Nge’no, have been in the headlines for the past one week over a slur against the first family. Ng’eno was arrested and later charged with hate speech but it is the drama surrounding Sudi’s arrest that has left many questions unanswered. On Saturday, police reports indicated three officers attached to the Presidential Escort Unit were found in the MPs home. It is believed one of these officers may have helped the MP leave the home.

Kapseret home

When he showed up at the police station in Uasin Gishu yesterday Sudi, said he had ‘several homes’ and that he informed the local detectives that he was not at his Kapseret home when they went looking for him. “I am a law-abiding Kenyan. It is clear when someone is wanted, he should be called to report to a required station.

 I could have presented myself had I been called. They broke into my home yet I was not there,” said Sudi. Earlier in the day on Friday, the MP made an entry into Eldoret town where he addressed his supporters in the Central Business District before the police hunt ensued.

Sources privy to the investigations say some hours to midnight, the MP called the media telling them law enforcers had surrounded his home seeking to arrest him. By then, he was said to be in the house, as confirmed by a top police officer in the area. His whereabouts would later remain ‘unknown’ as he slipped out of the house with two lorries full of GSU personnel keeping vigil outside the home. At some point, power supply to the home was switched off and it is believed this could have enabled the MP to slip out of the compound.

Sources privy to the investigations say the MP sought refuge at a top politicians house before surrendering to police yesterday morning. On Saturday evening, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said Sudi was safe and was almost arriving in Nairobi as they prepared to present him before the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) today.

But he tweeted hours later saying there was a change of plans.

 “Change of plans. See you later this morning (yesterday),” he said in reference to plans for Sudi to present himself to police.

Sources say the senior officer attached to Presidential Escort Unit who is said to have been seen at Sudi’s house and helped him escape was later on Saturday spotted at the rural home of a VIP in western Kenya. His two juniors were arrested after they were found at Sudi’s house.

Their colleagues said it was not the first time the officers went to Sudi’s house. However, their presence when the siege started raised eye-brows. Police had forced their way into the compound. It was during interrogation and search that it was established some of those present were police officers attached to the Presidential Escort Unit.

 Personnel from the unit are assigned to the president, his deputy and their families. It is not clear what their mission was at Sudi’s home but those who went to arrest the MP said their colleagues had gone there to ‘rescue him’.During the search, three guns -two pistols and Gilboa rifle- were recovered, police said.

The two officers said the Gilboa with 30 bullets belonged to their senior who had left by then. Earlier on, there was a commotion at the entrance to the compound which resulted in one civilian being shot and wounded and a police officer cut in the right hand as he tried to gain entry.

After realising the MP was not there, the officers went to his Eldoret Town home in Elgon View estate for another search in vain. Police in Eldoret said there was pressure to release their arrested colleagues and other civilians before and after Sudi surrendered. Those handling the incident said the rule of law will be followed and that those arrested will be charged in court with various offences. Yesterday, Sudi said he was not at his house when police went looking for him.

“As a law-abiding citizen, I have presented myself at Langas Police Station early this morning even before the officers arrive. It was unnecessary to be treated with a lot of drama by sending a contingent of police officers to my home. I was away at the time police arrived at my place. Thank you all for standing with me,” he said in a Facebook post.

Police dispatched a chopper to Eldoret which picked him alongside his legal team to Nakuru where he was booked at the Central police cells ahead of his planned arraignment. Police said there were fears of disruption of traffic flow on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway had they decided to drive Sudi to Nakuru

.At Langas, Sudi was accompanied by legislators Caleb Kositany (Soy), Cornelly Serem (Aldai), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Gladys Boss Shollei (Ausin Gishu Woman Rep), Nandi Governor Stephen Sang and former Uasin Gishu Speaker Isaac Terer.

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