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Man who lost arm after police shooting seeks justice

RIFT VALLEY
By Julius Chepkwony | December 5th 2018
Benard Njuguna from Major Y area in Bahati, Nakuru County. His arm was amputated following police shooting in the area on the night of September 29, 2017. [Harun Wathari/Standard]

Bernard Njuguna still vividly recalls the night of September 29 last year when his world came crashing down.

The resident of Major Y area in Bahati, Nakuru, was sound asleep when he was woken up at around 1am by neighbours seeking his assistance.

Apparently, thieves had raided a home barely 100m from his house and his fellow tenants were preparing to go and repulse the attackers.

In the spirit of good neighbourliness, Njuguna joined the rest of the men outside where they started plotting their rescue mission.

“I had no weapon but my landlady, Grace Maina, handed me a panga to defend myself against the gangsters,” he said.

Distress call

But their hushed discussion was never concluded when bangs tore into the quite night. “Gunshots!” a man yelled and the would-be rescuers scampered for safety.

The gate to his landlady’s compound was open and the men dashed inside, Njuguna was the last one to enter. Some bullets ricocheted off the metallic gate.

Witness accounts indicate that the shooters were two Administration Police officers, who were responding to the same distress call that had roused Njuguna from sleep.

As Njuguna stopped to secure the gate, he was shot in both arms.

“I was struggling to close the gate when I felt my body go numb. I rushed to where there was light only to see my clothes soaked in blood. I screamed for help before losing consciousness,” he said.

He regained consciousness after about 30 minutes only to see a crowd around him. The two officers had vanished. Another group of officers from Bahati Police Station came and took him to hospital.

Njuguna was admitted to the Rift Valley Provincial Hospital and later to St Mary’s Mission Hospital before being transferred to Kijabe Hospital for further treatment.

His right arm was amputated and has yet to heal more than one year later. During his interview with The Standard, it was obvious it was still infected as pus oozed from the wound.

The father of five has been unable to go back to his old life of repairing bicycles and motor bikes, and now depends on well-wishers to provide for his family.

Njuguna said he knows the two officers who shot him, saying they have never apologised for their actions.

 

He reported the matter at the Bahati Police Station and was booked under OB No. 05/29/09/2017, but not much has come out of the matter.

OCPD Edward Wafula said he was not aware of the case despite it being reported at his station.

“Let me follow up on the matter to know what really transpired because I am not aware of the report,” said Mr Wafula, adding that he would ensure justice prevails.

Beggar

Ms Maina said she had no choice but to let Njuguna stay on as a tenant without paying rent. “Njuguna was a hardworking man who did all he could to feed his family. He has now been turned into a beggar and cannot do anything for himself.”

The landlady also maintained that those who shot him were police officers.

“They knocked on the gate saying they were police officers and demanded to enter. They claimed robbers had sought refuge in my compound. I allowed them in but they left after seeing Njuguna lying on the ground,” she said.

Neighbours collected six spent cartridges which they gave Maina. Njuguna’s blood-soaked clothes were also kept just in case police came to investigate.

“Njuguna had nothing to do with the robbery otherwise the officers would have arrested him,” said Maina.

Nakuru County Human Rights CEO David Kuria said the Government should follow on the issue. “I have written to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority to have the case investigated,” said Mr Kuria.

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