Police in Bomet County have come under sharp scrutiny following the death of a suspect who was allegedly assaulted by others facing various capital offences.
Dan Wanjala is said to have been locked up overnight at the local police cells together with murder and robbery suspects over the over Easter holiday.
He had been arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.
The suspects whose number was not revealed, and who should be held in a separate cell away from petty offenders, are said to have beaten up the victim and inflicted serious injuries on him as they demanded to be told why he had deposited money at the booking office instead of carrying it to the cells.
“When I asked him why he was looking frail and in pain, he told me that he had been beaten up and seriously injured by murder and robbery suspects who were being held in the police cells awaiting transfer to Kericho prisons,” said Ms Esther Simiyu Wanjala, the victim’s mother.
The grieving mother revealed that when her son was thrown into the cells, the attackers ransacked and beat him up, with some hitting him repeatedly on his chest as they demanded to be given money.
The capital offenses suspects were being held at the Bomet police station after attending court sessions where they are facing various charges. They were awaiting transfer to Kericho GK Prison where they are normally held.
Ms Wanjala claimed that her son’s employer had confirmed that he had been arrested outside his business premises, yet he had not committed any offence.
“I am appealing to the Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’I and Inspector-General Police Hillary Mutiambai to intervene in this case so that we can get justice as a family. I am a single mother, my son was not sick prior to the assault. It is hard to bear the loss,” said Ms Wanjala, shortly after learning of her son’s death.
She accused the police of releasing her son without pressing any charges after realising that he had sustained serious injuries following the assault, adding that the officers did not take him to hospital for treatment.
“After the assault and subsequent release from police cells, my son sought medical treatment but he unfortunately succumbed to the injuries at the Bomet Sub-County Hospital on Wednesday. Police should take full responsibility for the death,” said Ms Simiyu.
Bomet Central Police Commander Geoffrey Walumbe, while confirming that indeed the man had been arrested, absolved his officers from blame, saying the victim should have gone to hospital to seek treatment immediately after being released from the cells.
“I was called by a member of the public who wanted to know what could have led to the death of the young man who had been arrested.
“I went to the Bomet Sub-County Hospital where I confirmed from doctors and family members that he had passed away. I asked the mother to accompany me to the police station where we confirmed that indeed the man was arrested in a swoop during the Easter holidays within Bomet Township,” ,” said Mr Walumbe.
He said no complaint has t been filed at the police station on the assault and that security officers were not informed of his sickness and hospitalisation.
“We will await a post-mortem examination to be conducted to establish the cause of death then we can recommend the next course of action,” said Mr Walumbe.
The body has been moved to Longisa County Referral Hospital mortuary.