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Man says officers assaulted him over dispute with kin

Monday May 13 2019

Mr Philiph Kirui

Mr Philiph Kirui, who says he was assaulted and seriously injured by police officers at Singorwet chief's camp in Bomet after he was arrested following a dispute with his brother over a tree which the latter had cut down. PHOTO | VITALIS KIMUTAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

VITALIS KIMUTAI
By VITALIS KIMUTAI
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Repeated knocks on his door at the crack of dawn rattled Mr Philiph Kirui and his family out of bed.

Armed with a torch, a walking stick and half-dressed, he went to check out who the caller was and what may have made the visitor to rudely interrupt the family from their sleep.

The 42-year-old father of two was shocked to find three armed policemen at the door.

The officers demanded that he dresses up and accompany them to the local chief’s camp.

He retreated to the house, dressed up and informed his wife Sharon that he was being arrested and told her to inform his other family members of the incident so that they could follow it up.

NINE-HOUR ORDEAL

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This was to be the start of a nine-hour harrowing ordeal in the hands of rogue police officers who later inflicted pain and injuries on him, leading to his hospitalisation after passing out twice.

“On Tuesday evening, I had a quarrel with my elder brother over his decision to fell down an indigenous tree which I planted years back and which stands on the boundary of the farm we inherited from our parents,” said Mr Kirui in an interview over the weekend.

Apparently, Mr Kirui’s brother had reported him to the police after he stopped him from carting away the pieces of wood cut from the tree.

The officers arrested him on Wednesday morning and took him to the nearby Singorwet Location chief’s camp in Bomet Central Sub-County where he says he was repeatedly assaulted and sustained serious injuries.

The incident has now thrust the police officer in the spotlight.

LOCKED UP

“I was arrested at 5am on Wednesday and taken to the chief’s camp by three police officers where I was locked up until 11am when an officer came to the cell and demanded that I admit that I was on the wrong and must apologies to my brother,” said Mr Kirui.

Mr Kirui claimed that a female police officer stood guard at the entrance of the holding cell for the entire time while a male officer assaulted him as he wailed, attracting members of the public.

As the whipping continued, the man passed out and the policemen allegedly threw him out of the cell and dumped him outside.

As a result, he sustained several deep cuts on the buttock and lower thighs and also on his head.

HANDCUFFED

He also sustained neck, back, leg and hand injuries besides a swollen wrists as he was beaten while still handcuffed.

“I could not defend myself because of the handcuffs. The officer put me between his legs at a corner of the cell and assaulted me as I cried for mercy but to no avail,” said Mr Kirui when he narrated his ordeal on Thursday in Bomet town after collecting a P3 form at Longisa County Referral Hospital.

Mr Kirui said the police officers refused to listen to his explanation that the tree belonged to him and not his brother.

He claimed that they wanted him to change the narrative and accept that he was the one on the wrong.

TAKEN TO HOSPITAL

Members of the public jammed the chief’s camp and a neighbour volunteered to take the injured man to Tenwek Hospital for treatment using a motorcycle.

“When I volunteered to take the injured man to hospital, the female police officer attempted to prevail upon us to leave him alone as they had allegedly called in a police vehicle for the same purpose. But members of the public could have none of it,” said Mr Wesley Laboso, a neighbour.

Mr Kirui said he is facing difficulties while moving around as the wounds are still painful.

“I am experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort but there is nothing I can do as I must dispense with this matter when it is still fresh,” said Mr Kirui.

Bomet County Police Commander Naomi Ichami confirmed that the victim had reported the matter and investigations into the incident had commenced.

TAKE ACTION

“We will take action against the police officers if it is confirmed they committed the offence against a person they were supposed to be protecting,” said Mrs Ichami in a statement.

Investigators told the Nation that the officer in question would be arraigned on Monday to face assault charges.

It has also come to fore that the officer had several disciplinary cases in Bomet and Sotik police stations where he shot at a man and missed.

He has also had cases of misuse of a firearm and altercations with his colleagues and seniors.

“We demand action to be taken against the officers who assaulted and injured the innocent man whom they should have been protecting,” said Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui.

Mr Tonui said should the police fail to prosecute the officer, then he will hire a lawyer to help Mr Kirui institute private prosecution.