Villagers bear brunt of brutal police during curfew, security stings

Tuesday May 12 2020

The General Service Unit officers patrol Moi Avenue in Mombasa on May 1 to enforce the dusk-to-dawn curfew. Villagers in Bomet County have protested alleged police heavy-handedness. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Ms Eunice Tarkwen is seated on a stool outside her house on a sunny Monday midmorning, wringing her clasped hands, immersed in conversation with relatives and villagers gathered at her homestead.
Ten metres away lies a fresh grave with flowers that are just starting to wither.

Therein lies the body of her firstborn son, 27-year-old John Kipkirui Koech.

Koech, a mason, met his death a week ago while fleeing from police officers who were enforcing the dusk-to-dawn curfew at an estate at Silibwet trading centre in Bomet Central constituency.

He was knocked down by a private car as he allegedly ran away from the officers who had beaten and injured him. The incident happened on May 3 at around 7.30pm.

“My son did not deserve to die, but life was snuffed out of him at a time when he was eking out a living for the family. We looked up to him for our daily bread. Now he is gone, not to be seen again,” said the grieving single mother of two.



Three officers are said to have pursued him to the estate and beat him up with whips and blunt objects as he begged for mercy.

“A female officer pleaded with her colleague to spare the young man and let him go home, but they would hear none of it,” claimed Ms Beatrice Chebet, an eyewitness.

Koech then slipped out of the hands of the officers and sprinted out across the road.

But as fate would have it, a private car knocked him down. His head landed on the hard tarmac and he suffered fatal injuries.

He was rushed to Tenwek Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

“I have buried my son, I want to be left to grieve in private, but as I said publicly during the funeral, the officer who pursued and beat him up will not find peace in his life. God will avenge for us … my son’s spirit will hound him forever,” Ms Tarkwen said as she showed us the grave at her Njerian village home.

The family decided to bury the body without conducting a post-mortem exam after the driver of the vehicle that hit him came forward to explain what happened, with the corroboration of witnesses.
Bomet Central police Commander Omari confirmed that the family had not made a formal complaint.

In yet another incident in the county that borders on thuggery, two chiefs in the company of police officers allegedly beat up a young man in broad daylight, causing him serious bodily harm.


Mr Reuben Ngetich, the Bomet township chief, and Jackline Maritim, the assistant chief of Kapsimbiri, were also accused of invading a widow’s home and allegedly vandalising her two houses before burning them down in a midday operation in search of illicit alcohol.

In the first incident, Mr Desmond Korir, was beaten in the full glare of the public at an eatery in Keliot village in Bomet township. The security officers and administrators were allegedly in pursuit of a gang of youths involved in various crimes.

Mr Korir claims he was working at the eatery when the officers stormed the premises. “The two, in the company of police officers, descended on me on Sunday, kicked, punched and beat me up with a whip without provocation.”

He is undergoing treatment, but his tribulations did not end there. He has not been able to secure a P3 form at the Bomet Police Station, because he was denied one.

Mr Ngetich and Ms Maritim confirmed conducting the operation in which Mr Korir was beaten up.

“He (Korir) tipped off youths whom we were pursuing. The boys took off as a result,” Mrs Maritim said in a recorded audio.