News 2008


Army Using Excessive Force in Eldoret

The East African Standard (Nairobi)

1 February 2008

Vincent Bartoo


Police have shot dead 16 people and injured 58 others in four days in Eldoret town.

Among those admitted in hospital with bullet wounds include three Sudanese shot outside their homes at Kapsoya estate.

They were among 26 others rushed to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital with bullets still lodged in their bodies, on Friday.

The victims were shot in protests sparked by the killing of Ainamoi MP, David Kimutai Too by a police officer.

Mr Makui Maker, 37, a Sudanese was shot by a GSU officer.

"He was sitting in the compound when the officer with a red beret burst open the gate, cocked his gun and shot him twice in the stomach and left leg," said Emmanuel Sebit, a cousin who witnessed the incident.

When The Saturday Standard visited Maker's home, bloodstains littered the compound, leaving a trail to his house.

Army officers have been accused of harassing residents and some of them were caught on camera mistreating arrested youths.

The officers frog-marched and whipped the youths as they forced them to remove illegal roadblocks along the Eldoret-Nairobi highway.

They used sticks, gun butts and their boots to beat up the subdued youths. The incident has sparked outrage from residents who have accused the security officers of using excessive force.

"The action by the army has particularly angered us. How can they deal with civilians that way? Are we at war?" asked Mzee Peter Toroitich, a resident of Ngeria.

"I was walking home at 4pm to Maili Nne estate, when army and police officers arrived and started shooting and I was shot on the right leg," said Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, a businessman in Eldoret.

"They just alighted from their vehicles and started shooting," he said, from his hospital bed.

Others at the hospital nursing bullet wounds were Mr Walter Korir, Ms Peris Chepkosgey, Mr Fred Muhonja, Mr Peter Kagwi, Mr Benjamin Kibet, Mr Reuben Ida, Mr Haroun Kipkirui, Mr James Bosirei, Mr Simon Kiptarbei, Mr Samson Simiyu, Mr John Misoi, Mr Okemwa Ramadhan and Mr Bernard Mariko.

"They came to our estate (Kapsoya) with one mission; to kill. I was not part of the protesters but they shot me on my left shoulder," said Misoi.

One of the victims who sought anonymity said he heard one of the officers saying: "Nyinyi ndio munauwa watu Eldoret kama kuku, hata nyinyi mutauwawa vile vile (You are the ones killing people like chicken. You will also die the same way)."

Meanwhile, a senior officer in one of the police units based in Eldoret, told The Saturday Standard that 200 police officers who hail from Eldoret and neighbouring towns have been transferred. "We have received the letters. They are basing our transfers to re-organisation in the (police) force aimed at enhancing security," he said.

Separately, the North Rift branch of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has condemned the use of excessive force by the police.

The members spoke as the visited the victims at the hospital on Friday.

"Security forces are behaving like bandits. It is unfortunate that they are contributing to the breakdown of the law when they are supposed to safeguard it," said lawyer Eric Ngeno, the branch vice-chairman.

He said the Government should admit that its security apparatus had been overwhelmed, instead of resorting to excessive force to quell protests.