Nairobi County Police Commander Japheth Koome on Saturday appeared to justify the killing of an unarmed man in Eastleigh in broad daylight.
Mr Koome said that the man, seen in a video that went viral writhing in pain as a plainclothes police officer pumps multiple bullets into his body, had killed a police officer on Friday.
“I buried a corporal from Kayole yesterday (Friday). The same gangsters shot dead another officer yesterday. Tell all gangsters out there that when they kill an officer, I am ruthless and they will get it from me. And you can quote me on that,” Mr Koome said.
But the Independent Policing Oversight Authority yesterday said it had started investigations “and if there is culpability, ensure those responsible face the full force of the law.”
Mr Koome was later quoted in other media as saying that the video that was widely shared was acted, with Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet taking a more diplomatic tone.
“The law is very clear. And do not push me to contradict the law (support the killing). I have said my position is clear that an investigation will be done,” Mr Boinnet said.
Mr Boinnet confirmed that the two had, indeed, been accused of killing a police officer but refused to comment on why his junior had contradicted him on their fate.
Some Kenyans on social media supported Mr Koome, saying that the gang had terrorised residents.
A user identified as Letty Veey, for example, said: “When the same thug kills you or your relative God will also have mercy, right? Those guys are inhuman, they are not human beings am telling you. Thugs have no mercy at all. Their heart is that from another world. They can do anything to you. Let them be killed period.”
Wrote another social media user identified as Mayja Nickson: “The officer did what they saw was necessary. Our jails and our justice system cannot handle this criminals. So I say shoot to kill this young wanabe thugs or hung them publicly to set an example. Well done.”
But the Law Society of Kenya president Isaac Okero called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the police officers shown in the video.
“An an inquiry should establish how police officers are able to carry out murders of unarmed Kenyan civilians in broad daylight with impunity,” said Mr Okero in a statement.
In the chilling one-minute clip shot from a balcony, a man is seen confronted by three men, two of them holding pistols.
A few metres from him is another man lying down, seemingly dead, in a pool of blood.
One of the armed men in a red shirt is holding the man by his shirt with his left hand and a pistol in the other. The man appears to be pleading for his life.
Twenty seconds into the clip, a uniformed administration police officer walks by, pushing the huge crowd back.
The officer in red waves his gun and pulls the man away from the milling crowd.
He opens fire. Twice. The person shooting the video shakes from the bullet sound, but returns to the scene and shows the man down, bleeding.
The officer in the red shirt is then seen stepping on him, as another man, believed to be an officer, walks to him and hands him another pistol.
He then steps harder on him, pumps several bullets into the young man, now writhing in pain. But he is not done yet.
He moves around him, before dealing his last blow: A bullet to the back of the young man’s head.
The two dead men, according to comments on social media, are alleged to be well-known armed robbers who have been terrorising Eastleigh.
The men were linked to the dreaded Gaza gang.
“The scene is chilling and a frightening reminder that there are elements of the security forces who murder Kenyan citizens without hesitation and in violation of all laws. Those young men were entitled to due process,” Mr Okero said.