Police accused of 'cover-up' in the killing of Kabarak University student

Joshua Plimo

According to his peers, Joshua Plimo left the Kabarak University campus at 9:20pm on Saturday after eating dinner in the school canteen.

Photo credit: Family album

Students at Kabarak University are accusing police officers of obstructing investigations into the death of a fellow student who was run over by a police vehicle.

The angry students accuse police officers at Menengai police station in Rongai sub-county, Nakuru, of a cover-up by withholding details from the public.

The student was knocked down by the police vehicle outside the gate of the institution on Saturday.

The angry students say police officers are doing their best to cover up the death of their colleague.

"The accident happened on Saturday, which is three days ago, and the police have not taken any statements from eyewitnesses or students who witnessed the accident," said one of the students.

He continued: "The police want to protect one of their own by not recording statements."

Another student said: "The policemen are behaving very suspiciously. When we went to inquire about the matter at Menengai police station, they were not cooperative until we threatened to be unruly, and then we were told that the suspect had surrendered the vehicle involved in the accident".

"At the station officers were just mean to us. Their reception was very cold. They were taking us in circles as if nothing had happened and this is a ploy to defeat justice through a calculated cover-up plan. Why are they dilly-dallying in recording any statements and yet the incident occurred on Saturday," asked another student.

Rongai Sub-County Police Commander Wilberforce Sicharani denied allegations that the police were trying to cover up the incident.

Sped away to avoid being attacked

The police boss said the officer sped away to avoid being attacked by the public and burning the vehicle.

He said the officer later reported the matter to the Menengai police station and handed over the vehicle, which has since been taken for investigation.

"After inspection, we will find out if the driver was indeed in the wrong and action will be taken against him," the police boss said.

Mr Sicharani said they had started investigations into the incident, adding that they were yet to take statements from the students and eyewitnesses.

Meanwhile, details of the late student's last moments with his collegemates are emerging.

According to his peers, Joshua Plimo left the Kabarak University campus at 9:20pm on Saturday after eating dinner in the school canteen.

He said goodbye to his classmates and promised to meet them in the morning for a church service.

"We sat at the same table during dinner. He had ugali and omena while I had chapati and green gram. When we finished, we all left the mess and went home. He was happy all the time, he even told us to hurry before the school gate was closed because we all live outside the school," recalled another student.

First-year pharmacy student

However, Plimo, a first-year pharmacy student, was allegedly knocked down by a police vehicle outside the school gate and died hours later while receiving treatment at the school's health facility.

According to his schoolmate, they were waiting to cross the road when a police vehicle knocked him down.

A student said the police vehicle, which was driving at high speed, was coming from Nakuru towards Mogotio.

The police vehicle hit a bump and the driver lost control before knocking down the student who was standing on the side of the road.

"I just saw Mr Plimo flying in the air before he hit the ground. He called for help and then fell silent," said one student.

Bodaboda operators and school security responded and rushed him to the school's health facility.

Interestingly, instead of attending to the unconscious student, the nurse at the Kabarak health facility demanded proof that he was indeed a student at the facility before attending to him.

This forced the students carrying him to open his phone using his fingerprints to access his portal as he was unconscious.

After minutes of verification, despite bleeding, Plimo was wheeled into the facility but died as doctors and nurses tried to save his life.

Completely damaged

"His head was completely damaged, his teeth fell out while we were lifting him from the floor. His leg was also injured. He died while we were watching him," said one student.

Boda boda riders who tried to stop the police vehicle said they were surprised to see security guards at the gate of Kabarak University harassing them.

"This behaviour of the Kabarak University guards gave the driver of the police vehicle an opportunity to speed away, otherwise we would have arrested him and handed him over to the police," a boda boda rider said.

"We do not know why the security team acted in this way, they even chased away students who were milling around the scene ready to help. This is very inhumane and wrong," added another boda boda rider.

Kabarak University Student Organisation (KUSO) president Karen Cheptoo issued a statement condemning the reckless driving of a police officer.

"We are deeply concerned about the negligence that led to such a tragic loss," Ms Cheptoo said.

Ms Cheptoo said the organisation would not rest until justice was done for their fellow student whose life was cut short by a careless driver.