Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rescue ends in double tragedy

Ms Joyce Njoki (left) narrates how her husband, Mr Peter Thambo Mwangi, was shot dead by Administration Police officers. With her is Ms Esther Wairimu, whose husband, Mr Paul Njoroge, was killed by the same officers. Photo/JAMES NJUGUNA

Ms Joyce Njoki (left) narrates how her husband, Mr Peter Thambo Mwangi, was shot dead by Administration Police officers. With her is Ms Esther Wairimu, whose husband, Mr Paul Njoroge, was killed by the same officers. Photo/JAMES NJUGUNA 

By JAMES NJUGUNA

A rescue operation ended tragically after police officers gunned down two innocent neighbours at a village in Gatundu District.

Mr Peter Mwangi and Mr Paul Njoroge will be buried on Thursday at Kiganjo, where they were killed by Administration Police (AP) officers responding to a gang attack alert.

Gangsters had raided the village at 3am last Thursday and were attempting to break into one of the homes when its owner raised the alarm. Neighbours joined in the shouts for help, prompting the gangsters to flee.

One of the neighbours used her mobile phone to contact a friend, who in turn telephoned one of the officers at the local AP camp.

Half an hour after the gangsters had fled, the villagers were gathered outside their houses when two officers emerged from a maize farm.

“Upon seeing us, they fired in the air and everyone scampered to the shamba,” said Ms Joyce Njoki whose husband, Mwangi, was killed.
“I did not run but I raised my hands and told them that I was one of the residents. They wanted to shoot me.”

Unfortunately, no sooner had her husband emerged from the toilet, a few metres away from the house, than one of the officers turned his G3 rifle towards him and opened fire.

Screaming

The other victim, Mr Njoroge, emerged from the shamba screaming when he saw that his neighbour had been shot.

At that time Ms Njoki had grabbed the officer with the rifle to restrain him from firing more shots at her husband.

On seeing Mr Njoroge, the other officer drew his pistol swiftly and pulled the trigger.

By the time the officers realised their mistake and summoned a taxi to take the victims to hospital, it was too late.

Ms Esther Wairimu, another neighbour, witnessed the incident.

“The officers just shook their heads and left the compound without a word. We have not heard from the authorities since,” she said.

The police post is a kilometre from the village.

Witnesses said they had their statements taken at Gatundu Police Station.

The head of the Criminal Investigations Department in Central Province, Mr Scaver Mbogho, said an inquest file had been opened and action would be taken once the circumstances surrounding the deaths had been established.

He added that the APs had been summoned to the station and their statements recorded.

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