The Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA) has launched investigations into the killing of a man during protests at Chuka town in Tharaka Nithi county on Saturday, April 8, 2023.
Willis Mugambi, the chairman of a local boda boda riders association, was shot dead while protesting the killing of a resident, Daniel Mutembei, by unknown assailants.
In a statement on Sunday, IPOA chair Anne Makori said the death occurred due to police action, hence the probe.
"The shooting incident occurred after police responded to enforce public order management as demonstrators protested the killing of a man by civilians in Chuka Township.
"Section 25 (1) of IPOA Act, demands that 'the Authority shall investigate any death or serious injury including death or serious injury while in Police custody, which are the result of Police action or were caused by members of the Service while on duty'", Makori stated.
Makori said IPOA had dispatched a rapid response team to Chuka Township to probe the incident.
"The Station Commander Chuka Police Station has since notified the Authority's Regional Office in Meru, of the incident. This is in line with the provisions of the NPS Act, Sixth Schedule, that any death be reported to IPOA within 24 hours," Makori stated.
"Our Regional office in Meru has this morning dispatched a Rapid Response Team to launch investigations into the death."
Upon conclusion of investigations, Makori said, the authority shall take appropriate action including recommending to the Director of Public Prosecutions the prosecution of any person found culpable.
Earlier, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said the government had also sent teams to Tharaka Nithi to look into a spate of attacks on civilians in the recent past.
Kindiki, in a statement on Sunday, said the government would conduct "impartial" investigations and make sure justice was served to the victims.
"Tonight, high-level investigative teams have been dispatched to Chuka Town to take over enquiry and recommend legal action on those found responsible for the death of one person last week as well as a second person shot dead during the demonstrations that caused the blocking of the Embu- Meru Highway most of the afternoon today," Kindiki stated.
"Any person(s) at whom evidence will point shall face the course of justice. Condolences to the families and friends of the two deceased persons and to the affected communities. Residents are urged to remain calm and allow impartial investigations following which prosecution shall ensue."
According to initial reports, a man was attacked by assailants with machetes in Chuka before he died in hospital. Suspects were arrested, but later released by the police.
Meanwhile, the Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition condemned the killing of Mugambi, saying any officer behind the shooting should be held accountable for their actions.
"We condemn the tragic incident in Chuka town, where the Boda Boda Chairman Willis Mugambi was fatally shot while peacefully protesting - a legitimate right that is protected by the constitution," the opposition coalition said in a tweet on Sunday.
"The police must uphold all constitutional provisions that safeguard peaceful protests, and be held accountable for violations."
We condemn the tragic incident in Chuka town, where the Boda Boda Chairman Willis Mugambi was fatally shot while peacefully protesting - a legitimate right that is protected by the constitution. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/yKtV0yL0I4— Azimio TV (@AzimioTv) April 9, 2023