Rumuruti family seeks justice after kin dies in suspected police brutality

Geoffrey Otieno

Geoffrey Otieno who is said to have died at Rumuruti police station where he was being held.

Photo credit: Pool

The family of a 32-year-old man in Rumuruti town, Laikipia County, are demanding justice after their kin died in police custody.

Geoffrey Otieno is said to have died at Rumuruti police station where he was being held.

According to his brother Huxley Ochieng', the deceased was arrested on September 9, 2023, at a nightclub in Rumuruti town on suspicion of being a drug peddler.

He said that during his arrest, a confrontation ensued between police officers and revellers at the club who questioned why the deceased was being arrested.

"However, the officer managed to arrest him and two others and took them to Rumuruti police station at about 2am," Mr Ochieng' told Nation. Africa.

He said the next day, the family received a phone call informing them that their son, who had dropped out of Kenyatta University where he was studying for a Bachelor of Commerce, had been admitted to Rumuruti Sub-county Hospital.

"We rushed to the hospital with my mother and found doctors attending to my brother who was lying unconscious on the bed. We were asked to take him to Nyahururu County Referral Hospital but on arrival, we were informed that he had already died," Mr Ochieng' added.

According to the records on the Rumuruti police station Occurrence Book seen by Nation. Africa, the deceased was arrested for being in possession of stolen goods, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

But Mr Ochieng' wondered how his brother, who was picked up by two officers at the club while drunk, managed to assault the officer.

"As a family, all we want is justice because my brother's death was not natural. They (police) arrested and detained him for allegedly being in possession of stolen goods, but they did not produce the items he was accused of stealing".

"They arrested him when he was in good health, only for the officers to call my sick mother to tell her that he had been taken to hospital. We pray that the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) will get to the bottom of this murder," he said.

His father, Andrew Onyango, also appealed to the IPOA to help the family get answers over the death of his first-born son.

He said a post-mortem conducted by Dr Ngulungu Titus at the Nyahururu County Referral Hospital mortuary on Friday (September 16) revealed that his son died from head injuries.

"As a result of my examination, I am of the opinion that the cause of death was severe head injury with subdural haematoma with mass effect due to blunt force trauma," Dr Ngulungu said in his report.

"We will press the government to take action against the police officers involved in the killing of my son," said a distraught father.

"He was a jovial young man with a bright future despite dropping out of university," the father added.

Human rights defenders led by David Kuria condemned the killing of the late Otieno and called on the IPOA to speed up investigations so that the perpetrators can be prosecuted.  

"Police brutality is becoming the order of the day in police cells and prisons and in less than two months, two innocent Kenyans have died under mysterious circumstances at the hands of prison and police officers," said Kuria.

The body of the deceased is lying in the Pope Benedict XVI Hospital mortuary in Nyahururu as the family prepares to bury him at their rural home in Siaya County. 

When contacted, Laikipia West Sub County Police Commander Moffat Mang'era said the relevant authorities had taken up the matter and that the incident was under investigation.