Police in Mtwapa are on the spot after a contingent of officers from Mtwapa Police station were allegedly involved in brutal killing of a palm wine tapper in Mtomondoni area of Kilifi South Sub County on Monday morning.
The officers are said to have shot Juma Changawa,25, on the head on close range, killing him instantly on Monday 10, 2021.
Family led by the late Changawa’s brother Amani Nzani and Kilifi based Human Rights lobbyists have accused authorities at Mtwapa police station of ‘feigning cover-up of one of their own’.
“Police in Mtwapa Police station have refused to cooperate. They have denied the family a chance to record any statement and now we have decided to take the matter to the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA),” said Eric Mgoja of Kilifi Social Justice Center.
According to witnesses, the officers donning civilian clothes said to be six in number, arrived at the congested Mtomondoni settlement on the fringes of busy Mtwapa town at around 10.00am on three unmarked motorbikes and headed straight to one of the houses where they found the deceased together with his dreadlocked friend identified as Jay.
After introduction, the officers took Jay into his house and asked him to allow them ransack his house searching for drugs.
In the process, Jay says they heard a single burst of gunfire emanate from the neighborhood but the officers would not allow him to go out and see what was happening.
“I would later learn that it was my friend Changawa the palm wine tapper who was shot dead. He had just visited me and brought some drumsticks and told me to prepare lunch while he went to refresh and was to return later for lunch,” Jay explained.
A witness, who claims to have seen one of the officers pulling the trigger disclosed to People Daily that after killing the victim, the officer used a pen knife to cut his arm before tearing a piece of cloth off his shirt and used it to wrap the cut.
“He then used the knife to dislodge a bullet from the victim’s head before taking out his handkerchief which he used to wrap the bullet and put it on his rare pocket. All this time they tried to keep off residents from milling around the scene,” explained the witness who said he is now fearing for his life as the officers wanted to get hold of him after taking photos of the scene.
Another witness, Lydia Nguma Kalama said she was in the house with family when they heard a gunshot just outside their house.
“When I walked out, I was shocked to find that it was Changawa sprawling down writhing in pain as brains oozed off his skull. His life was ebbing out. I was so shocked and confused because I know him. I started screaming for help but the officer who I hadn’t noticed told me to keep quiet and return into the house,” explained Kalama.
The incident attracted an irate mob who responded by attacking the said officers with stones before torching the three motorbikes.
In the process, the officers escaped on foot with two of them allegedly hijacking a bodaboda operator and ordered him to drop him at Mtwapa police station.
Efforts to get comments from the police were unsuccessful as Mtwapa Sub County police commander Mohammed Waqo said he was not in a position to comment about the matter since he was in Nairobi.
“Please I am not in the office. I have taken my child to school in Nairobi and I am in a place where I cannot talk on the phone. Contact somebody who is in the office,” the police boss said over the phone.
At Mtwapa police station, junior officers talked about the incident in hushed tones and no one was willing to speak to the press.
The Deputy Sub County Police Commander Paul Otieno was also not in office and declined to answer our calls.