Police officers searching for stolen firearms and ammunition in Mumias are reported to have stormed into houses and beat up residents.
Seven G3 rifles and 180 bullets were stolen when unknown people raided the Booker Police Post in Mumias in the wee hours of Tuesday and injured a lone officer using an axe.
On Thursday, shops in Mumias were closed as the officers raided Shibale town and nearby villages asking people to produce the guns.
County assembly member Suleiman Odanga and former ODM youth leader Rashid Mohammed accused the General Service Unit officers of using excessive force.
“Reports indicate that nine women were beaten and raped. The officers forced themselves into their homes and stole phones, money and food,” said Mr Odanga, the ward rep for Mumias Central.
Kakamega County police commander Stanley Tito Kilonzi denied the allegations and urged people who say they were harassed to file their complaints with the police.
“I have received no complaints of alleged harassment by police officers going about the search for the guns, but if there is anybody whose rights have been violated, let them report the matter to the nearest police station for investigations,” said Mr Kilonzi.
Veronicah Omayo accused the police of setting ablaze her son Stanley Namai’s house in Shebale. The young man is a motorcycle mechanic and was admitted to St Mary’s Hospital.
“Police must take responsibility. My son is innocent,” protested Ms Omayo.
Lilian Obare said she was beaten senseless. “They forced themselves into my house at 4am on Thursday, shouting fungua mlango na uweke bunduki kwa meza (open the door and place the guns on the table),” Ms Obare said.
She said pleas to spare her were ignored and she was beaten together with her children.
“They also ate what I had cooked and took away my phone and money,” she said.
Western regional Commissioner Mongo Chimwaga said police searched several homes in Shibale, Lukoye, Mayoni and Shitukhumi villages but did not find any gun.
The search for the weapons was extended to the neighbouring counties of Vihiga, Bungoma, Siaya and Busia.
“The search for the stolen guns will continue until all the weapons are back in safe hands. We are leaving nothing to chance,” said Mr Chimwaga.
Edwin Koyo, another resident, said he was also beaten and the windows and doors of his house broken.
“They came at 5pm on Tuesday and returned at 4am on Wednesday. They hit my wife with batons when she opened the door and then asked for my whereabouts,” Mr Koyo said.
Dorothy Munja said the officers did not spare children. “It was pure thuggery,” she said.
Some 200 police officers from the General Service Unit combed sugarcane farms in Mumias Sub-County for the stolen weapons.
The guns were stolen at about 4am on Tuesday morning shortly after three police officers had gone to respond to an emergency.
The attackers broke into the armoury and stole the guns and bullets and then fled. Three colleagues of the injured officer found him unconscious in a pool of blood with a deep cut in his head.
Mr Odanga said the police should involve the intelligence services and locals to recover the guns instead of brutalising innocent people. “Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet must take responsibility,” he said.