Men beaten by GSU in bridal party mishap moved to Mombasa

The two claimed that they had been on the way to an traditional engagement ceremony when they lost their way.

Tuesday January 12 2016

Mr Ahmed Godana (centre) and Mr Abubakar Bocha at the Tawfiq Hospital in Malindi. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Ahmed Godana (centre) and Mr Abubakar Bocha at the Tawfiq Hospital in Malindi. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DANIEL TSUMA NYASSY
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By MOHAMED AHMED
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Two men said to have been beaten up by GSU officers in Tana River have been transferred to Mombasa for specialised treatment.

Mr Ahmed Godhana and Mr Abubakar Bocha are being treated at the Coast Neurology Centre after what they said was assault by the General Service Unit officers from Nyongor camp last week.

The two claimed that they had been on the way to an traditional engagement ceremony when they lost their way.

Relatives have been demanding that the officers involved in the incident be punished. Indeed, Coast Regional Police Commander Francis Wanjohi last week promised as much.

There has been heavy deployment of police and military in parts of the Coast to confront the threat posed by Al-Shabaab from neighbouring Somalia.

After attacks on security installations, during which members of the armed forces have been killed, officers are likely to be on edge in operation areas, making them likely to respond with force against suspected intruders.

THE ATTACK

Explaining his ordeal from his bed at the Tawfiq Hospital in Malindi earlier, Mr Bocha had said that he did understand why the officers beat them senseless. 

“We left Odha Village for Moa around 5pm to make a marriage proposal,” he said. “Our driver did not know the route well and so we ended up at Nyongoro GSU camp gate.”

He added that the car was stopped by about 10 heavily armed officers.

“We raised our hands and greeted them but they were not interested. The officers ordered us out and made us kneel. After taking our identity cards, they ordered us to lie face down and began beating us,” he said.

The other police officers understood the order to mean that they could assault the two men and started beating them.

Mr Bocha said he regained consciousness the following morning at Mpeketoni Hospital where he and Mr Godhana were taken after being handed over to Witu Police Station.

They were transferred to Tawfiq Hospital when their condition deteriorated.

Their driver, Mr Abdulrahman Bakero, whose injuries were not as serious was locked up at Witu and charged in a Garsen court the following morning where he was charged with preventing police officers from doing their work. He was released on a Sh100,000 free bond.

Doctors in Malindi referred Mr Godhana to Mombasa for specialised brain and nervous system treatment.

On Saturday, Tana River Governor Hussein Dado visited the two in hospital and settled their bill. He promised to take up the matter.

“This is the second incident involving police beatings and we will not allow it to happen again. Even if the young men were suspects, was there no other way of handling them?” he asked.

Mr Godhana’s mother, Mrs Mariam Dido, and her husband, Mr Mohamed Guyo, said they wanted to see justice done.

Mr Wanjohi, the police commandant, described the beatings as unfortunate. He said the police officers failed to follow the correct interrogation procedures.

“I have received the report. Let family members of the three men file formal complaints with the Independent Policing Oversight Authority so that the matter can be dealt with,” he said. “It was unfortunate that the GSU officers assaulted innocent people who were only asking for directions.”