Man dies moments after brutal encounter with 'police officers'

Mr Alfred Kingoina the matatu driver who was allegedly arrested and tortured by people believed to be police officers but later succumbed to injuries at a  private hospital within Nakuru town.

Photo credit: Mercy Koskei | Nation Media Group

The family of a matatu driver who was allegedly tortured to death by police officers in Nakuru has called on the government to help them get justice.

Mr Alfred King’oina, who operated between Njoro and Nakuru city, was pronounced dead at a private hospital, where his colleagues had rushed him after the assault on September 26, 2022.

Witnesses said three people alighted from a pickup truck at the Koleni matatu terminus and ordered Mr King’oina to stand next to their vehicle.

His friend, Mr Griffin Apoko, said the men, who were in civilian clothes, presented themselves as police officers even though their vehicle had a civilian registration number.

Ms Delphine Nyanga'nyi, the wife of Mr Alfred Kingoina, a matatu driver who was allegedly arrested and tortured by people believed to be police officers but later succumbed to injuries at a private hospital. She was speaking to journalists at their home in Kaptembwa area within Nakuru town west sub county..

Photo credit: Mercy Koskei | Nation Media Group

“Mr King’oina obliged and approached the men. One of them had a pistol while another had handcuffs and a two-way radio. One of the men started slapping him,” Mr Apoko said.

Unknown persons

Mr King’oina managed to free himself and boarded a matatu that was already leaving the stage, but the unknown persons chased after him in their vehicle.

Concerned colleagues and onlookers also trailed the two vehicles and caught up with them at the Eveready roundabout, barely two kilometres from the first scene.

“When we caught up with them, we found that they had already handcuffed him to one of the seats and were beating him up. They were sarcastically telling him to call for help from people he felt would get him out of their hands,” Mr Apoko said.

A crowd that milled around the scene became furious and demanded that Mr King’oina be taken to the nearby Kaptembwo Police Station to face the law.

However, the two men declined and when the crowd threatened to lynch them, they fired shots in the air, but the crowd did not disperse.

They later un-cuffed Mr King’oina but he collapsed and fell unconscious.

That is when the matatu operators rushed him to a private hospital, but he died as medics were administering first aid.

Robert Osiago the elder brother of Mr King’oina, said he was at work when he received a call from a friend informing him that his brother was in trouble.

He regretted that his brother was assaulted and died at the hands of people claiming to be police officers.

“We believe these were police officers who were on a mission. They picked him up from among his colleagues at work. If not, we wonder what daring criminals would do that on a highway next to a traffic police roadblock,” said Mr Osiago.

Demand justice

He said his brother had suffered injuries and bruises in his chest that they believe were inflicted on him with a gun.

“We demand justice. There is no way they can convince us that these were criminals and not police officers in civilian clothes. If he had done something unlawful, they should have taken him to court instead of killing him," he said.

His distraught wife, Ms Delphine Nyang’anyi, said her husband’s death shocked the family.

She said she spoke with her husband last on the morning of the incident when he called to enquire whether she had taken their eldest son back to school.

“I want justice for my husband and our three children. He was not a criminal. He worked as a driver to provide for his family. He was the sole breadwinner. The children are asking me hard questions,” Ms Nyang’anyi said.

Nakuru West sub-county Police Commander Edwin Otieno, however, denied claims that police were involved in the incident, adding that they learned about it from the public.

“We had no officers on any such assignment or at work in civilian clothes and a vehicle. We have, however, initiated investigations into the matter to establish the identity of the suspects and their motive,” Mr Otieno said.

Human rights activist David Kuria disputed the police claims, saying the circumstances of the incident suggest the police had a hand in the assault and killing.

“We shall work with the family to ensure a postmortem is done. We shall follow up to ensure those culpable are brought to book and justice is served,” Mr Kuria said.

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