Expert: Police 'laxity' to blame for Sharon's death - Daily Nation

Expert: Had police acted fast, Sharon's life could have been saved

Saturday September 8 2018

Sharon Otieno

Ms Sharon Otieno. She was kidnapped with Nation journalist Barrack Oduor on September 3, 2018 and later found dead. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By JUSTUS OCHIENG'
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How complex was it for the police to track down Sharon Otieno’s kidnappers and save the 26-year-old girl from the brutal murder?

Questions have emerged on why officers at Kendu Bay Police Station and those at Kadel Police Post could not move swiftly to save the second year student at Rongo University.

This follows immediate report made by Nation journalist Barack Oduor who was driven to Kadel Police Post by a good Samaritan and moved to Kendu Bay Police Station in a police vehicle. Mr Oduor, who jumped from the speeding kidnaper’s vehicle at Nyangweso shopping centre, narrated how they were forced by the abductors to switch off their mobile phones before they were confiscated.

KENDU BAY POLICE STATION

When he made his report at Kendu Bay Police Station OB: 41/04/09/2018, Mr Oduor informed the police at the station of the situation they were put in by the kidnappers. But the big question now remains, what did the police do to save Ms Otieno?

Security experts say the Kenya Police is endowed with critical security gadgets that can track down criminals using mobile phones, whether on or off with their batteries intact.

The cellular phone, which both Mr Oduor and Ms Otieno had, the experts say, “provides an easy opportunity to be tracked down.”

So could police have saved Ms Otieno soon after Mr Oduor reported the abduction?

Security consultant Simiyu Werunga on Thursday told Nation.co.ke that it was possible as the abductors withheld Mr Oduor’s mobile phone after he jumped out of the car.

"So long as the phone had the battery on, they should have worked with the DCI to use the phone to track where the vehicle was. It is as simple as that,” Mr Werunga said.

He went on: “The police have the capacity to track phones up to minimum of five metres through service providers. They have arrangements with service providers so that they can track you up to minimum of five metres radius. That is the accuracy.”

MOVED SWIFTLY

He said, had the CID officers in Kendu Bay moved swiftly, Ms Otieno’s life could have been saved.

 “With the phones intact, they (police) will just know exact point where the signal is emanating from. It does not matter whether the phone is off. They can track you up to a minimum of five metres accuracy,” added Mr Werunga.

When the Nation visited Kendu Bay Police Station on Monday 3 at 1am to pick up Mr Oduor, four vehicles were parked in the compound

The station’s DCI boss Mr Joseph Ngare may not have been informed of the report then, but when he called the Nation at 5:14 am, he said he had been away.

NATURE OF INJURIES

“Kindly may you please help me with the details of the matter. When you were here, I was away,” he told Nation on the phone at that dawn when Mr Oduor had been attended at Aga Khan hospital in Kisumu. He questioned where Mr Oduor was and the nature of his injuries.

But Mr Werunga suggests that had the police taken Mr Oduor’s report seriously and acted, Ms Otieno’s life and that of her baby could have been saved.

“They should have radio called their colleagues to make sure the details of the (abductors’) vehicle was circulated. Even without the registration number, they could have given the description of the car which I believe Mr Oduor gave them,” said Mr Werunga.

He went on: “Being conversant with the routes, they knew the direction the kidnapers could have taken. They should have circulated the information to put colleagues in the area on alert.”

NO ROADBLOCKS

Mr Werunga lamented that “quite often, those who make reports of threats on their lives are killed even after making reports to the police.”

On Thursday, the Kendu Bay police boss Mr Ngare said he could not comment on the matter since his bosses were handling it.  

When the Nation team from Kisumu visited Kendu Bay Police Station to pick up Mr Oduor, no police roadblocks were seen on the major roads in the area.

On Friday, Nyanza regional DCI Michael Barasa said investigations into the murder of Ms Otieno and attempt on the life of Mr Oduor were still ongoing.

“Our team from Nairobi is working with us to unravel the mystery surrounding the death (of Ms Sharon Otieno) and abduction,” Mr Barasa said.