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Two shot dead in protest against cobbler’s killing

By Lynn Kolongei | June 26th 2020

An altercation between a boda boda rider and a police officer in Lessos, Nandi County ended tragically after three people were shot dead.

A house belonging an Officer Commanding Station (OCS) was burnt down in protests that ensued after the shooting.

Trouble started when a physically challenged cobbler tried to intervene in a case where two police officers confronted a boda boda rider for not wearing a mask.

Witnesses said the cobbler, identified as Lazarus Tirop, was shot in the head in an altercation that followed.

Stormed station

Outraged, residents then stormed a police station where the officers were based and set ablaze the official residence of the OCS Peter Muguro, leading to running battles with the police.

In the ensuing chaos, two more people were shot dead as the protestors attempted to overrun the police station.

Five people were injured in the chaos. They were taken to Kapsabet County hospital.

The angry residents also blocked the Kapsabet-Eldoret road and stopped police from collecting the cobbler’s body.

Nandi East OCPD David Nyabuto said: “Yes, it is true two more people have died. One was shot after he entered the police station and attempted to burn it. The second person climbed the flag post and tried to lower the flag before falling to his death”.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang, who visited the trading centre to calm the protestors, condemned the shootings.

“The police officers involved must be sacked,” said Governor Sang.

Why kill?

“Why would the police kill a person living with disability who woke up in the morning to eke out a living for his family?” he said.

Sang recalled another police shooting in the area two years ago where boda boda rider Wilson Saat was shot dead near the police station.

“Justice has to take its course. We understand that the officer involved in the 2018 killing was only transferred and no action was taken against him,” he said.

Nandi County Commissioner Olaka Kutswa promised to expedite investigations into the shootings and ensure justice was served.

Kutswa also promised to have all officers at the police station transferred. Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has launched investigations into the killings.

“IPOA dispatched its rapid response investigation team, which is already at the scene and has initiated investigations into the matter to establish how the shooting happened and if the force used was necessary,” read a statement from the Authority’s chairperson Anne Makori.

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