More than 20 police officers have been attacked, some of them killed, by the public in the past two weeks, in a trend that is now worrying the National Police Service.
Reports from the Police Headquarters indicate that some officers have lost firearms in some of the attacks and the whereabouts of one officer are yet to be known.
In Nyando, Constable Mike Karimi was attacked by four armed men as he crossed the Nyando River Bridge on February 7.
Mr Karimi was beaten and his official firearm taken. The pistol was loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition. The injured officer was rescued and rushed to Nyando Sub County hospital for treatment.
Four days later, Police Constable Geoffrey Kasyoki Kamuya, 39, from Nduluni village of Kasikeu location, Tetu sub-county in Nyeri County, was killed by a mob in Mangala on suspicion that he led an illegal group of youths.
On the same day, Constable Kipkemoi Bore, who was attached to Cheptoo Operation Camp in Gilgil, was abducted by unknown men as he went to fetch water in the company of four other officers.
“The officers had left the camp for the Catholic Mission Hospital in a police Land Cruiser. They alighted and started walking towards the water point. On reaching it, the officers discovered that Constable Bore was missing. A search was initiated and information from wananchi stated that he had been attacked by six people who were armed with crude weapons,” the Police Headquarters was told.
Villagers joined the search for Constable Bore and in the process, recovered his official G3 rifle, which was loaded with 60 rounds of ammunition in a thicket in the area. The whereabouts of the officer was unknown by the time of going to press.
The next day, in another incident in Kapenguria, a police officer was shot dead on the Kapenguria-Lodwar Highway.
Administration Police Constable Job Ewoi, 26, who was one of six officers manning a roadblock, was shot dead by bandits armed with AK47 rifles.
Another senior police officer, Inspector Barnabas Tonui of the Baricho Police Station was injured on February 13 after he and his colleagues were attacked by an irate mob, as they provided security in the execution of a court order for the demarcation of land in Mugumoini village in Nguguini.
A mob of about 200 youths armed with machetes and rungus attacked and beat Inspector Tonui and a surveyor. The officer managed to shoot twice in the air to disperse the crowd.
Another officer, Mr Dickson Kipngetich, attached to Bomet Deputy Governor Alfred Mutai was attacked by an unknown number of people as he walked to his house near Kings Outreach on Saturday.
The officer managed to shoot in the air four times using his pistol, scaring off his attackers, one of whom was apprehended by the public. Investigations into the incident have been initiated and other suspects are being sought by police.
Other incidents in which officers have been attacked and injured include one in Mathakwa Shopping Centre, where the public, protesting an increase in road accidents, turned against officers, hurled stones at them and injured them.
In Starehe, Nairobi, Mr Evans Kariuki, the brother of Mathare MP Stephen Kariuki, was attacked by a mob when he went to collect his ID card, on suspicion that he had gone to manipulate voters.
Officers who tried to help him were also attacked.
Several other incidents have been reported at the Police Headquarters, among them, one where two officers were injured during a mission to rescue Mr Mohammed Ali, 34, who had been intercepted by an angry mob in Ntulele on suspicion that he shot and killed one Stephen Kariithi. The crowd beat up Mr Ali and burnt his car before the officers arrived.
On Thursday, National Police Spokesman George Kinoti said the incidents, though worrying, were part of what officers go through in the line of duty.
“The environment that the officers work in is dangerous because we deal with criminality and disorder,” Mr Kinoti said, adding that the attacks on officers do not stop them from doing their work.
He, however, attributed the situation to the transformation in the police service.
“Officers no longer react with an intention of harming anyone despite having a firearm. They must justify the use of firearm at all times,” said Mr Kinoti, adding that the proliferation of firearms was a big challenge and sometimes, officers are caught off-guard by attackers.
source: Daily Nation