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Trans Nzoia police chang’aa raid leaves two dead

When Administration Police raided chang'aa dens in Isiolo's Bulapesa area. [File, Standard]

Transport along the busy Eldoret - Kitale highway was disrupted for the better part of Monday evening after youth in Moi's Bridge engaged anti-riot police in running battles.

This came after a police swoop in Trans Nzoia County turned tragic after two people lost their lives.

In one incident, residents said a man drowned as officers allegedly gave chase while in the second incident, a man was allegedly shot by an officer.

An operation against illicit brew carried out by police from Sirende turned tragic after one of the customers who had turned up at a chang'aa den drowned in River Nzoia as he was trying to escape arrest on Sunday.

The incident prompted the youth to stage a peaceful protest as police moved to retrieve the body of the man identified as Godfrey Wanyonyi.

However, the arrival of Anti-riot officers sparked off ugly scenes between the rioters and the police.

In the midst of the confrontation, one of the youth was allegedly shot dead provoking more violence from both sides.

The protestors resorted to barricading Eldoret Kitale road using stones and lit fire along Mois Bridge as they clashed with the officers.

The irate youth blamed the Officer Commanding Station OCS in Sirende for allegedly shooting the man whose identity is yet to be established.

"We are very angry with the Sirende OCS who shot one of us. We were just having a peaceful demonstration but the police decided to use force by shooting at us using live bullets," protested Joseph Wekesa.

Wanyonyi's father Patrick Sirengo said his son, a loader in Moi's Bridge township was headed home when police who were conducting a raid tried to ambush him.

My son does not take alcohol. He was headed home with a friend when the officers ambushed him and met his death as he tried to escape the arrest," said Sirengo.

Sirengo called for justice for his son who was a breadwinner to the family. "My son is the breadwinner for the family but his life has been ended by police action. We are calling for justice," he told The Standard.

Meanwhile, local youth called on Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i to intervene and assist them to seek justice for their colleagues shot dead by the officer.

"We are calling for CS Matiang'i to take action against the OCS. Police are supposed to offer peace and protection but not to kill unarmed individuals," said Wycliffe Juma.

Trans Nzoia County Police Commander Mrs Jecinta Wesonga confirmed the drowning of Wanyonyi, saying investigations had been launched.

"We are aware of the incident and we are looking into it," she said.