Kwale leaders have condemned police brutality witnessed in Ukunda Kwale County on Saturday night during an operation in search of guns stolen from two slain officers during an attack at ACK church in Ukunda in September.
Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori and Kwale woman representative Zuleikha Juma accused police of using excessive force on innocent residents saying they should have conducted the operation which targeted several villages in a more humane way.
Speaking separately Sunday, the two argued that police have no right to brutalise people in the name of an operation.
Ms. Juma called for dialogue between the police and the community saying use of unnecessary force will only drive a wedge between the two sides.
We cannot achieve anything if there is no cooperation from both sides, she said urging the officers, the community and leaders to dialogue.
It took the intervention of Mr. Dori to cool down the angry residents who protested the brutality by barricading the Likoni-Lunga Lunga road for hours and holding peaceful demonstrations.
He however, termed the operation as insensitive and conducted outside the confines of the law and called for investigations into the incident.
The leaders and residents demanded the release of people arrested during the operation.
The operation should have been done during the day and not at night, said Mwasifa Juma, noting that locals are peaceful people but the officers are provoking them.
Salome Mweni, a student who was among the victims said she was mercilessly beaten up by the police after alighting from a matatu at Kona ya Musa stage.
I was from school in Mombasa when the police descended on me with kicks and blows without any provocation, she said, adding that she sustained minor injuries in one of her hands.
Another victim Faiza Wamalwa complained the police forced their way into her house inquiring about a gun.
They ransacked my house for weapons and I condemn the callous manner in which they went about their operation, she said.
Addressing a security meeting County Commander Mr. Kenneth Kimani apologized to the residents following the incident saying officers involved in the operation will be investigated.
He however called on the locals to volunteer information that would lead to the recovery of the stolen firearms while urging local youths not to engage in violence.
The county has of late been rocked by rising cases of insecurity with the latest being the killing of two members of staff at Technical University of Mombasa, Kwale Campus, in an ambush on a staff car by gunmen suspected to be members of Al Shabaab.
Two Administration Police officers and the driver were injured in the October 10 attack by four gunmen in what is believed to have been another attempt to steal officers’ guns.
Source: Kenya News Agency