Did police execute four men or were they deadly Kawangware criminals?
Houses where residents say some of the four youth were shot dead by police in Nairobi’s Kawangware estate. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA By JAMES KAHONGEH
What started as a motorcycle accident last week at Gatina in Nairobi’s Kawangware neighbourhood ended in tragedy after four men were gunned down by police on Monday night on suspicion of robbery with violence.
According to a police report recorded at Muthangari Police Station under OB Number 2/09/1/2018, Moses Marti, a boda boda rider, was accosted by six young men, one armed with a pistol.
The rider raised the alarm prompting police officers to respond. Police claim there was an exchange and four men were killed and two fled and are still at large.
The police they recovered the motorbike, a knife and a homemade firearm from the suspects, the report says.
EXECUTED IN COLD BLOOD
Families and neighbours, however, deny the police account, saying the four men, aged between 18 and 21, were executed in cold blood.
According to the neighbours, two of the men were shot inside the house where they were sleeping.
The third was shot outside the house, while lying down. The fourth man, Robert Okinjo, was driven away in a saloon car before he was killed.
Okinjo, 18, was a Form Four student at Winners Secondary School in Kawangware.
When the Nation visited Kwa Waweru village in Gatina, there was still blood on the veranda and floor, a bullet-riddled carpet and Okinjo’s books lay scattered in his room.
The state of the scene of crime contradicted the police report.
“Robert had opened school that morning for his final year. He even showed them his books but the police went ahead to shoot him,” his brother, Michael Chavanji, said, adding: “He has never been involved in crime.”
The drama started when a boda boda rider allegedly knocked down one of the men, Charles Mwendwa, injuring him.
According to eyewitnesses, a dispute arose between Mwendwa and the boda boda rider as the former demanded to be taken to hospital.
The boda boda rider, residents say, refused to take responsibility, upon which the aggrieved, together with two others, confiscated his motorbike.
“More than 15 officers came to the village in two police cars and a saloon car. The officers threatened to shoot anyone who dared come out of their house,” said a neighbour.
Mary Mumo, Mwendwa’s mother, said that her son had taken his dinner as usual before leaving to sleep at his house.
“The police took my son from sleep and killed him while unarmed. They even took his identification documents,” the distraught mother said.
Robert’s family has reported the matter to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).
“The police must take responsibility for killing an innocent student. Justice for Robert must be served,” said Chavanji.
Two of the men killed are yet to be identified. Bodies of the four are lying at the City Mortuary.