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Standard group journalists arrested, cameras confiscated

RIFT VALLEY
By Faith Kithure | November 26th 2021

Peter Ochieng being attended to at MTRH after an alleged assault by police officers at Langas, Eldoret town while on duty.

Standard Group photojournalist Peter Ochieng is nursing injuries after he was roughed up by police officers at Langas Police station in Eldoret town. 

Mr Ochieng was following up on a drug-dealing incident when the officers under the command of the station OCS arrested him on allegations of taking photos of a police station.

He arrived at the station and was in the process of taking pictures of a suspect alighting from the police vehicle when he was roughed up and later locked up in the police cells for close to an hour.

Ochieng's camera and that of his colleague Simion Chepkwony, a KTN cameraman, were confiscated by the OCS and are still under his custody.

The matter was reported to Uasin Gishu County Commander who ordered Ochieng’s release.

Speaking after his release, Ochieng said he was pushed against the grills that injured his right side of the head, neck, and ear.

Upon treatment at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) Eldoret, it was established that he sustained an injury on his head leading to swelling and a rise in his blood pressure.

Uasin Gishu journalists led by local Journalists Association (UJA) Chairman James Gitaka have condemned the incident saying it goes against press freedom.

A number of journalists have camped at the police station waiting for Ochieng and Chepkwony to record a statement over the matter.

Last week, a Murang’a based journalist was roughed up by deputy president William Ruto’s security detail during a function at Kangari market.

Mwangi Muiruri of Nation Media Group (NMG) was roughed up as he took photographs of the deputy president during the official opening of Kangari United Dairy Cooperative Society.

Hell broke loose when Mwangi was asked by a plain cloth policeman in the security detail to explain why he was taking the photograph and videos but before he responded, he was frisked out by the police.

“I just asked the officer why he was interfering with my work as I was recording a video. Instead, he pushed me out of the dairy society compound, roughed up before I was handcuffed,” the journalist said.

Mwangi was later booked at Kangari police a move that saw other journalists camp at the facility demanding his release.

The journalist was later released.

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