Kenyan police on spot for brutal attack on university student
NAIROBI, Kenya - The Kenyan Police Service is at pain to explain circumstances leading to a brutal attack on a university student, despite regulations guarding the men in uniform.
On Monday, police engaged students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in running battles after the learners went rampant on alleged maladministration.
But a video of police officers descending a defenseless student has caused an uproar from among Kenyans, some calling for the immediate sacking of the officers involved.
In the viral video, at least three police officers are seen beating the student with blunt objects as distressed colleagues record in anguish.
The institution is located at least 50 KM North of the capital Nairobi. It's one of the pioneer institutions of higher learning in Kenya.
Under pressure police boss Hillary Mutyambai on Tuesday morning ordered immediate investigations to the bizarre incident, promising actions within 24 hours.
Mutyambai insisted that the police officers are not permitted to go rogue on Kenyans, adding that offenders should only be arrested and processed in court.
"Following the unfortunate incident, the Internal Affairs Unit has been directed to commence investigations and make recommendations in 24 hours time. Any police officer found culpable will be held responsible," he said in a statement.
"Officers are further reminded that their actions should not be punitive; it should focus on maintenance of law and order and processing offenders for court," added the Inspector General of Police.
Leaders from both political divides in Kenya condemned the incident with some putting on spot Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i.
In a rejoinder, the powerful interior minister expressed disappointment in the incident and also called for an immediate inquiry.
"I have observed the events at JKUAT today with profound concern. The use of force by police is clearly outlined in the National Police Standing Orders," the minister tweeted.
"I have spoken to the IG and we both agree that firm and decisive action shall be taken against any officer who used excessive force, within the next 24 hours."
Cases of police brutality in Kenya are synonymous with the police force, whose radical reforms are yet to best fruits a decade after the promulgation of the new constitution.
In a report released by the State Department in November, Kenyan security forces were accused of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture.
Independent Police Oversight Authority, the body mandated to review such brutal cases, has largely been ceremonial with the state often curtailing its functions.