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Kin of fallen officer say he wasn’t given a colourful burial

Tuesday September 24 2019

 Inspector Benson Indeje grave

Mr and Mrs Boaz Indeje point at the grave of their son, Inspector Benson Indeje in Lunyweri village, Vihiga County n September 24, 2019. The family protested that the police service abandoned them and that their son was no accorded a burial befitting an officer. PHOTO | DERICK | LUVEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DERICK LUVEGA
By DERICK LUVEGA
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The family of the senior police officer who was shot dead allegedly in confrontation with his colleagues in Nairobi’s Kawangware estate on September 5 has protested that their kin was abandoned by the police service in death.

They further claimed that their son was not accorded a colourful ceremony that normally comes with the burial of servicemen.

Mr Boaz Indeje, the father of Inspector Benson Indeche, 33, Tuesday told the Nation at their Lunywere home in Hamisi, Vihiga County, that there was no gun salute during the burial and the casket was not draped in the police flag, a move that has pained the already wounded family.

NO POLICE UNIFORM

At the same time, the fallen officer’s mother, Mrs Miriam Indeje, complained that her son was buried in a civilian suit after the police service failed to provide a new uniform as had been promised.

The policeman was buried on Saturday, with Mr Indeje saying that fellow officers also kept away from the funeral.

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He also noted that the family was forced to bear the burden of planning the funeral and burial preparations as the police service did not participate.

Nation could not independently verify the claims made by the family.

Mrs Miriam Indeje

Mrs Miriam Indeje holding the portrait of her son Inspector Benson Indeche, 33, who died in a shooting in Nairobi. PHOTO | DERICK | LUVEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

GUN SALUTE

During a briefing held at the dead officer's home, the family said the issue of gun salute and covering a casket with a police flag has been a tradition during burial of serving officers.

Mr Indeje noted that his son was a senior officer and wondered why the tradition was not observed.

"The police did not fully participate in burial preparations. A flag was not put on the coffin and there was no gun salute. The police abandoned him in death," said Mr Indeje.

FAMILY STATEMENT

At the same time, Mrs Indeje complained that the police service that his son served in had not taken a statement from the family, only leaving the matter to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa).

Ipoa, she said, had recorded a complaint from the family but added that the police officer who allegedly shot and killed his colleague is still walking freely "while my son is rotting in the grave".

"He was killed by a fellow police officer. I am horrified as a parent. My son was the bread winner of his family as the wife is not working. The government should move in and help by giving compensation," said a grief stricken Mrs Indeje.

QUEST FOR JUSTICE

The parents said the family is still disturbed by the events that led to their son's death.

Mr Indeje said the family will not rest until justice is served.

"Even if it means opening an inquiry, we will support it. Reports surrounding his killing are disturbing us as they are not factual. The media reported that he was shot five times but post-mortem exam results shows he was shot once," he said.

RIVALRY CLAIMS

Mr Indeje said his son was newly posted at Riruta Police Station where he had barely served for two months and claimed rivalry could have triggered the shooting.

On the day he was killed, police claimed Inspector Indeje may have been drunk.

Being an inspector, the officer was to be a station commander.

"He was still young but well educated. He was pursuing his master’s degree and this could be the reason why he quickly rose through the ranks. He has left behind a young family," said Mr Indeje.