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Autopsy: Police tortured and killed suspect under custody

By Nathan Ochunge | October 23rd 2020
Mbururu Police Station in Likuyani Sub County that was set ablaze by irate locals five days ago after Denis Lusava, 21, who had been arrested for failing to wear a facemask had disappeared. [Nathan Ochunge, Standard]

A man whose body was found dumped in River Nzoia was tortured, an autopsy report has revealed.

The autopsy conducted on Denis Lusava, 31, who went missing at Mbururu police cells in Lugari Sub-county, Kakamega County, shows he was tortured using blunt objects.

Lusava’s decomposing body was discovered on the banks of River Nzoia five days after it went missing and was booked at the Webuye Sub-county Hospital morgue.

“The deceased was tortured to death. There were no indications that he drowned in the river. He was assaulted with a blunt object, resulting in severe injuries on his neck, forehead, occipital area, backbone and the left upper quadrant,” said Dickson Muchana, a government pathologist.

The postmortem examination was conducted at the Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital mortuary in the presence of officers from the homicide unit, government chemist, the Independent Police Oversight Authority, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, and Lusava’s relatives.

Muchana said the victim succumbed to the injuries after his heart stopped functioning. He handed the report to the homicide unit to conduct further investigations.

Put in custody

Relatives claim Lusava was beaten by police officers before he was put in custody. Police alleged the suspect assaulted their colleague. Police claimed they released him after his kin bailed him out. Lusava's disappearance from custody angered locals who torched the police station.

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“We were alerted by neighbours to rush to Mbururu police post to save our son who was being assaulted by the police. I saw him bleeding profusely and his hands handcuffed to the window grills of the police post,” said Agnes Ambale, Lusava’s mother.

She said Lusava was naked, save for the underpants that were soaked with blood, adding that he could not walk or stand on his own as he was very weak.

“My son could not recognise me at that moment. When one of the officers started beating him up again with a rungu (baton), I stormed out of the police station as I could not stand seeing my son being brutalised,” said Ambale.

Kakamega County Police Commander Hassan Barua told The Standard in a phone interview yesterday that they had not arrested anyone in connection with the killing since the police had not concluded investigations.

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