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Student recounts brutality by police  

Saturday November 16 2019

SIMON CIURI
By SIMON CIURI
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The family of Allan Omondi, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology student captured on video being assaulted by four police officers, is living in fear.

Mr Omondi, 22, told the Saturday Nation that some elements in the force want to know if he will sue, given that the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the National Police Service have launched investigations after the interdiction of three of the officers who beat him up.

ORDINARY DAY

When he came to Nation Centre for this interview on Friday, Mr Omondi was accompanied by his father, who could not hide his worry.

“I have brought my son for the interview but make sure you return him to Total, Kimathi Street, where I will be waiting for him,” the elderly man told this writer.

Mr Omondi himself is wary of the people he talks to.

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When he began recounting the events of the past few days, the fourth-year food science and technology student said he is happy to be alive.

Monday last week began like any other day, he said. 

Mr Omondi did not expect anything out of the ordinary when he left his hostel, which is outside JKUAT’s main campus in Juja, just metres from the main gate.

He attended the morning lesson, which usually ends at 10am, and briefly returned to his room.

He said he was on his way back to the university at 10.30am for another lesson that was to begin at 11am when he learnt through the JKUAT official Twitter handle that classes had been suspended due to student unrest.

“I decided to walk back to my hostel and met several students who were going home or discussing the strike,” he said.

“I left them and went back to the hostel.”

From his hostel room, Omondi said he heard a commotion near the university’s main gate and headed there to see what was happening.

“Students were assembling at the gate to protest the rising insecurity in and outside the university,” he said.

“I came to learn that Gate A was the assembly point for the protesting students.”

There were no signs of danger for almost an hour, as more students gathered while police officers watched from a distance.

'WE WILL KILL YOU'

The officers, Mr Omondi said, later lobbed teargas canisters at the students, leading to a commotion.

That is when the four police officers isolated and viciously attacked him.

“They never asked anything. I heard them say: “Huyu ni Mungiki student. Ukicheza na sisi tutakuua na tukutupe kwa kichaka’ (This is a Mungiki student. You joke with us and we will kill you and dump your body in the bush”).

He believes they referred to him as Mungiki due to his dreadlocks.

“My bleeding did not seem to bother them. The four officers would later signal to their colleagues, who arrived in a vehicle immediately. I was bundled [into the vehicle] and driven towards Juja Police Station,” he said.

In an NTV interview on Thursday, Mr Omondi said the officers still beat him up as he was being taken to the station.

ASSAULT CONTINUED

“They handcuffed me and continued with their assault. I wasn’t feeling pain anymore,” he said.

Mr Omondi added that he was made to hang precariously in the vehicle as it sped to the station.

“An officer said I didn’t deserve to sit on the bench like them. He made me hang with my hands cuffed to the ceiling of the vehicle,” he said.

He pleaded with them to stop the beatings, saying he has a serious breathing problem but the pleas fell on deaf ears.

And the beatings came with all manner of threats.

MORE BEATINGS

One officer said his bloodshot eyes were as a result of drug abuse.

“They said: "Wewe hata hatutakufikisha station. Tutakumalizia hapa hapa’ (You won’t even reach the station as we will finish with you here), adding that I would serve as an example to the rest of the students,” Mr Omondi said.

More beatings were to follow at the station as other officers joined in.

Moments later, he said, about 20 more students were brought into the station.

INTERDICTED

The officers later released Mr Omondi on learning that the video of their brutality had already gone viral. By this time, Mr Omondi’s parents were negotiating his release. He left the station without being booked or recording a statement.

Mr Omondi would later be taken to Thika Level Five Hospital and AAR Health Care.

Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai on Wednesday said three of the officers captured in the clip had been identified and interdicted.

Additional reporting by Elvis Ondieki