Police officer faces murder charges over death of varsity students

A Nairobi police officer faces murder charges over the death of two university students, following investigations by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa).

Mr Dennis Ongwae Magomere and Mr Felix Ngaywa Nyagena, who were students at Egerton University, were shot dead on November 7, last year.

An official police report at the time said the two were muggers but the Ipoa’s investigation established officers who handled the case gave false information to hide the truth.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko upheld Ipoa findings and directed that Constable Patrick Thuranira, who was attached to the city’s Central Police Station, be charged with two counts of murder.

The shooting occurred at 9.30pm at the Globe Cinema roundabout.

The officer was deployed to the police’s anti-mugging unit.

“Investigators found that the two students had travelled from Egerton University, Njoro Campus to Nairobi on the day they were killed. They were accompanied by a friend and had travelled to Nairobi to follow up on their Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) loans at Anniversary Towers,” according to a statement by Ipoa.

NOT IN UNIFORMS

It added: “They visited Anniversary Towers and later visited relatives within Nairobi. They were leaving the Nairobi CBD to a relative’s house in Mathare North when they encountered the constable.

He was off duty and not in uniform but was armed with a police pistol, which he used to kill the two students.”

The statement was signed by Ipoa’s public relations officer, Dennis Oketch.

Investigations also revealed that the students were not involved in mugging.

The victims had their national and university identity cards but when police took the bodies to the mortuary, they booked them as unknown.

It took their families two weeks to locate the bodies and identify them.

The civilian oversight body was formed in 2012 to receive and investigate complaints from the public against the police.

In the past, police investigated themselves and errant officers often walked scot-free.