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‘Officer tied my hands to a boda, dragged me on road’

By Julius Chepkwony and Antony Gitonga | June 12th 2020 at 08:00:00 GMT +0300

Mercy Cherono being attended to by a medic at Olenguruone sub-county hospital on Wednesday after she was allegedly assaulted by a police officer. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A woman is nursing a broken leg, soft tissue injuries to her arm, and a wound on her forehead after a plain-clothes police officer allegedly tied her to a motorbike and dragged her on the tarmac.

Mercy Cherono, 21, is recuperating at the Olenguruone Sub-County Hospital in Nakuru County after the ordeal on Sunday.

She said the officer had accused her of breaking into his house and stealing a laptop and clothes.

She has denied the claims, saying it could be a case of mistaken identity.

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“The policeman suspected I was among the people who broke into his house and stole the items on Sunday morning,” said Cherono, a mother of one.

She said the officer found her relaxing outside her rented house in Olenguruone town and demanded she follows him. They joined a group of people standing by the roadside.

Tied hands

“He removed a rope from his motorbike, tied both of my hands and attached the rope to the motorbike,” she recalled.

The officer dragged her for 200 metres as he rode the motorbike and stopped only when the crowd intervened.

A one-minute, 30-second video clip, which has since gone viral on social media, shows Cherono pleading for mercy as the officer rides the motorbike.

The video shows her being dragged on tarmac on her stomach as the crowed wailed.

Cherono said the officer hit her leg with a club, demanding to know where she had taken the stolen items.

She was taken to Olenguruone police Station where some officers suggested she be taken to hospital.

Catherine Cherotich, Cherono’s mother, condemned the brutality meted on her daughter, saying the officer should have instead arrested Cherono.

“Why did the officer want to kill my daughter? All I need is justice for her,” she said.

Olenguruone sub-county hospital superintendent Solomon Bera said Cherono had a broken leg and soft tissue injuries to her arm and a wound on her head.

“She is lucky to be alive. The attack was brutal,” Dr Bera said.

He added: “She has been very distressed over the attack. She is very disturbed and fears a possible retribution.”

Area OCPD Henry Nyaranga said he was informed that Cherono was attacked by a mob and not the police officer.

“Records at the station show the lady was a victim of mob justice contrary to claims that she was attacked by an officer.

“The report says she was found stealing from a house belonging to one of my officers,” Mr Nyaranga said.

Three police officer, including the officer commanding the Oleguruone police station, have since been arrested in connection with the attack on Cherono.

Rift Valley Police Commandant Marcus Ochola said the suspects would be arraigned after investigations are completed.

“We are getting some positive leads and the officers will be arraigned. The lady is also being treated as a burglary suspect,” said Mr Ochola.

Ochola and the Rift valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya paid Cherono a visit at the hospital.

He condemned the incident saying it was not in order since Cherono had not resisted arrest.

Nakuru County Criminal Investigation Officer Michael Mwenze called on those who witnessed the incident to come forward and record statements and help in identifying the culprit.

Police post burnt

Meanwhile, in Naivasha, Mirera village residents, incensed by what they called frequent harassment by officers from the Mirera police post burnt down the installation.

The eight officers manning the post, who were deep asleep during the incident, escaped death narrowly.

They lost personal belongings worth thousands of shillings in the fire, which occurred yesterday morning.

Village elder, Rimui Mungai, said there had been problems between the officers at the post and motorbike operators.

He said the misunderstanding has raised tension during the nationwide curfew period, with the operators accusing the officers of harassment.

The arsonists first locked from outside the house of the officer-in-charge before setting a tyre ablaze outside his door.

The fire spread to adjoining houses as the officers scrambled for safety. It took over two hours to put off the fire.

The area women leader Esther Nyokabi acknowledged that there was a problem between area youths and security officers over how the curfew was being enforced.

Naivasha OCPD Samuel Waweru, who visited the scene, said no one was injured and that police had launched investigations.

“We don’t want to speculate on the cause or motive but our security officers are investigating the incident and necessary action will be taken if need be,” he said.

Last month, residents of the nearby Karagita estate blocked the Moi South Lake road for two days, leading to running battles with police following the closure of a corridor leading to Lake Naivasha.


Mercy Cherono Nakuru County Police Brutality
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