Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Drama as angry residents torch AP camp, pelt police with stones

Drama  ensued at Lugulu market of Bungoma East subcounty after angry residents engaged anti-riot police  in a five-hour running battle bringing business in the busy town along the Kitale-Webuye Road to a near standstill.
The demonstrators stoned and smashed car windows and barricaded roads with boulders and stones.
Trouble started after the police tried to stop the demonstrators from barricading the road and destroying properties. Police officers had to duck as they  faced attacks  from angry residents who were baying for the blood of a suspect believed to be behind the murder of a businesswoman who was killed in cold blood.
The demonstrators torched an administration police camp and looted properties in residential estates and markets as they battled with police.
The demonstration paralysed business in shops, pubs and other social joints which were forced to close.
In the melee Webuye  OCPD  Paul Odumbe was injured.
Other junior police officers from regular and administration police were injured as tempers flared
The police boss sustained injuries from stone missiles directed at him from angry residents who demanded the suspected to be released to the public to kill.
Anti-riot police were forced to fire live bullets and tear gas canisters at the youth. A senior police officer said they had called for reinforcement from Bungoma county headquarters  and Kimilili to help contain the mayhem as youths continued to pelt them with stones.
Angry villagers said riots would break out if police do not deal with criminals in the area whom they claim have ruined their community.
A  boda boda rider was shot in the leg while another young man was assaulted. Both were  rushed to  Lugulu Mission Hospital where they were treated.
In a meeting to reconcile residents with police, Bungoma county commissioner Mohamed Maalim warned that the government would not take lightly cases of lawlessness where residents take the law into their own hands.
He further noted that incidents of mob justice in the area were on the rise over the last one month.
“Every time a criminal is arrested, you people always subject him to mob justice. I take this chance to caution those with such behaviour that their days are numbered,” said  Maalim.
Bungoma county police commander Charles Munyoli warned the public against taking the law into their own hands saying they risk being arrested.
“We urge the public to be reasonable. They have to be patient. Investigations are underway for the crimes that are committed. The law will take its course and the involved people will be apprehended,” said the commander.
“These criminals come from our homes. Do not shelter a criminal. Give information to the police. That is not to say wananchi should take the law into their hands; it’s illegal. Innocent people may be killed. Let police do their work,” added  Paul Soi, Bungoma county administration police commander.
“When it comes to mob justice, reason seems to go right out of the window. No one wants to know the details of the accusation. They promptly appoint themselves the prosecutor, judge and executioner. In such circumstances, anyone could be a victim of a bloodthirsty crowd” added Soi.