Residents of Lamu are outraged by the notorious behavior of a criminal investigations officer working in the area who is allegedly frustrate them through extortion and frequent threats to life using his pistol.
The officer, identified as Police Constable Kenney Ochieng Arose, is attached to the DCI office in Kiunga on Lamu’s border with Somalia.
He was deployed to the area from Nairobi several years ago.
In 2013, Mr Ochieng was among two police officers, including William Masana, who were referred to by the media as ‘matatu pickpockets’ after they were caught stealing phones and valuables from an unsuspecting matatu crew.
The story was widely covered by the media with the two being caught on camera doing their thing.
It remains unclear whether they were charged after the exposé and, therefore, it came as a surprise to Lamu residents, who had thought the officer had been discharged from active duty following the 2013 unmasking of the rogue officers.
Locals who have on various occasions encountered humiliation from the officer, especially those who fail to bribe him once he comes after them, pleaded with the government to ensure the officer is immediately transferred from Lamu.
“We know this particular officer from what he did back in 2013. We actually expected that he had been discharged from active duty but we were shocked to discover that he has been in Lamu, all this while extorting people and harassing members of the public,” said Mrs Fatma Ali, an activist from Lamu.
A police report seen by the Nation indicated that the officer had on June 3 this year allegedly raided the home of Marereni headman Dahil Mohamed Yusuf within Kiunga around 10pm, where he attacked him and threatened to shoot him using a pistol.
Residents of Kiunga told Nation.Africa on Sunday that the officer has always been demanding between Sh20,000 to Sh50,000 as a bribe, especially from those found without national identity cards (IDs), with promise of not taking such matters to court.
Kiunga Ward Representative Abdallah Baabad said it is improper for a security officer, who is expected to protect the citizens, to endanger the same lives he is mandated to safeguard.
Mr Baaabad appealed to Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i to intervene and ensure disciplinary action is taken against the rogue officer.
“Residents of Kiunga and Ishakani villages are fearful due to the bad character of this particular cop. He can’t keep on asking for bribes and manhandling our people, threatening to finish them with guns once they refuse to meet his awkward demands. It is the high time disciplinary action is taken against him. Let him be interdicted. He is spoiling the image of the police force,” said Mr Baabad.
Lamu County Director of Administration, Shee Kupi, appealed to the government to move with speed and resolve the matter as the public in Kiunga is watching to see justice prevail.
Mr Kupi reiterated that residents of Lamu have always been cooperated with the security agencies but was quick to say that the behaviour of the DCI officer has greatly demoralised them.
“We are calling for quick action against the officer. We are peace-loving citizens who deserve justice,” said Mr Kupi.
Hamid Hussein, a religious leader in Kiunga town, said they will be happy to see the officer moved out of Lamu.
Last week, residents stormed the Kiunga Police Station demanding that the officer be immediately transferred.
“If they won’t interdict him, let them transfer him back to where he came from. We are tired of his unprincipled behaviour,” said Mr Hussein.
Contacted, Lamu County Police Commander Moses Murithi confirmed that reports concerning the said officer had reached his office and that investigations against had been launched.
“The matter is already under investigation and disciplinary action will be taken against the officer if it's found there is any truthful in the allegations,” said Mr Murithi.