Policemen found guilty of killing 7 taxi drivers

PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU Four of the six police officers found guilty of killing seven taxi drivers at Kawangware shopping centre on March 11, 2010 in a Nairobi court on December 18, 2012. They will be sentenced on December 19..

What you need to know:

  • Judge throws out claim by the officers that they acted in retaliation and says they were intent on murder

Six Administration Police officers have been found guilty of killing seven taxi drivers at Kawangware shopping centre in Nairobi and convicted of murder.

Justice Fred Ochieng’ ruled that the officers, Ahmed Mohamed Omar, Ahmed Abdallah Shaffi, Michael Ngungu Lewa, Moses Lochich, Nelson Kipchirchir Too and Erick Ebere Melchizedek had a clear intention of killing the taxi drivers.

“The officers had a common plan to eliminate the drivers who had the audacity to defy them and by firing indiscriminately using many bullets, their intention was to kill and cause harm meaning they had malice aforethought,” ruled Justice Ochieng’.

He said there was no doubt all the seven drivers were killed by bullets and that all the officers confirmed they were within the crime scene, were on duty and were all armed with loaded guns.

According to the judge, the six officers readily incriminated themselves by admitting shooting at the taxi drivers who allegedly attacked them.

The judge dismissed the officers’ defence that their action was justified, saying that killing of another person by a police officer is only justifiable if it is in the process of averting a crime, but which must be proved the officer was in real danger.

“If the taxi drivers had guns and attacked the officers as they claim, it would have been expected they would have injuries, but a medical doctor conducted tests and confirmed they had no physical injuries and were fit to stand trial,” said the judge.

Even though the judge appreciated the role played by police in protecting lives and property, he ruled that the officers had not shown the shooting was the only practicable solution to the stand-off.

“The role played by police is well appreciated... they are recruited after thorough scrutiny and a rigorous training. That is why they are supposed to provide security, not to take away lives,” he stated.

The six officers were charged with killing Mr Harry Gideon Thuku, Mr James Mugweru Mwangi, Mr Joseph Maina Mwangi, Mr George Ng’ang’a Thairu, Mr William Gitonga Njau, Mr Joseph Ngugi Chege and Mr Joseph Thiongo Njoroge on March 11 2010.

“The pathologists confirmed that the seven died as a result of multiple gun wounds with some of their body parts ripped off. There was no evidence the drivers fired at the police since none was injured but seven drivers were dead,” the judge said.

Justice Ochieng’ will pass the sentence on Wednesday after the officers have entered their mitigation.

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