3 Kitui women accuse police of torture at Syongila AP Camp

Friday November 10 2017

Janet Mwikali

Mrs Janet Mwikali (left) and Mrs Hellen Kyalo after the Nation interview at Syongila shopping center in Kitui on November 10, 2017. They want justice done. PHOTO | KITAVI MUTUA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KITAVI MUTUA
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Three women in Kitui are in pain and on medication after they were allegedly tortured by police on claims of insulting a local church leader.

Mrs Hellen Kyalo, Ms Janet Mwikali and Mrs Kathini Mwema from Syongila Village in Kitui Central on Friday said the officers inflicted serious injuries on their behind, thighs and legs.

ELECTRIC CABLE

One (name withheld) cannot sit while the other two have difficulty walking.

They sought treatment at Kitui Level Four Hospital after the officers at Syongila AP Camp allegedly lashed them using an electric cable for over three hours on Monday night.

According to the three victims, their pain and tribulations at the hands of police started after they were arrested and taken to the camp.

The AP officers stormed their homes, found them cooking and dragged them out of their kitchens as their young children cried in fear of the officers’ terror.

At the camp, they were accused of insulting Pastor Augustus Ngui of Vision Outreach Ministry, whose church they ditched.

According to Mrs Kyalo, the officers, who accused them of "bad manners", did not give them a chance to defend themselves.

They had no time, she said.

WHIPS

The police forced them to lie on their bellies on a dusty floor inside their camp and started whipping their backsides, the woman told the Nation.

They were released a few minutes past midnight, she said.

“We were held for more than three hours at night, facing brutal assault and no charges were preferred against us,” Mrs Kyalo, who was accompanied by her husband Kyalo Musyimi at the hospital, said.

“The officers released us instead of booking us at the nearest police station, if we had committed any offence.”

Mr Musyimi claimed that the AP officers were bribed by Pastor Ngui to “discipline the women” to settle a score.

The women said they were not in good terms with the church leader after they quit his ministry and joined another church.

“This is the most dehumanising police brutality anyone can be subjected to,” Mr Musyimi told the Nation

FREE

“From the injuries she sustained, my wife is having difficulties walking yet these cruel assailants are roaming free as no action has been against them”.

Mrs Kyalo, Ms Mwikali and Mrs Mwema have lodged a complaint against the officers at Kitui Police Station.

Mr Musyim said their families were being intimidated by the officers’ bosses to withdraw the torture complaint.

He urged Independent Police Oversight Authority (Ipoa) to intervene and ensure the officers are punished.

Contacted for comment, Pastor Ngui confirmed that he reported the three women to police for allegedly hurling insults at him but denied bribing the officers to beat them up.

The preacher said he only asked the AP officers to “caution the women”, and that he was willing to reconcile with them and settle the matter out of court.

PROBE

Kitui police chief Muthuri Mwongera, to whom the officers at the camp report, confirmed that the matter was under investigation.

The complainants, he said, were issued with P3 forms to enable them get treatment first before proceeding with their cases.

His Administration Police counterpart Nicholas Mutua said disciplinary action would be taken against the officers if they are found to have violated police code of conduct.

“There will be no cover-up,” he said.

“The officers will have to bear responsibility for their actions because we cannot condone such behaviour within the service.”

The incident has exposed police brutality that is still rampant in most stations in rural areas.

Kenya police have, in the recent past, been accused of brutality during the election season, with reports indicating that more than 45 people may been killed.