Another shame of Police, KDF altercation in public

Monday, April 29th, 2024 00:45 | By
A KDF officer during training in Northern Kenya. PHOTO/Print
A KDF officer during training in Northern Kenya. PHOTO/Print

A Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldier attached to the Garissa-based 6th Brigade of the Kenya Army was on Saturday arrested after he assaulted a police officer and released a suspect from Bondora Police post in Rabai, Kilifi County.

In what has now become a worrying trend of altercations between the KDF soldiers and the National Police Service counterparts, another incident was reported barely eight hours later in Likoni, Mombasa county where Kenya Navy soldiers assaulted two police officers and a private security guard near the Likoni Ferry.

The two incidents on Saturday, one of which the KDF headquarters has described as highly “regrettable” come on the heels of yet another embarrassing incident on April 17 where police officers arrested four KDF soldiers following a nasty altercation in Lodwar town.

Police claimed the soldiers had assaulted and disarmed Constable Cleophas Makhapila who had been deployed on day road block duties together with county enforcement officers.

In a rare and shocking public display at the Likoni ferry channel on Saturday at around 6pm, the KDF soldiers clashed with their junior armed counterparts from the police service, much to the astonishment of onlookers.

The heated altercation, captured in a viral video, showed a troop of over five KDF soldiers engaging in a bitter scuffle with police officers.

Military tactical vehicle

A brief to police headquarters and seen by People Daily indicated that officers from Ferry Police station were on duty on Saturday at around 6pm when a military tactical vehicle approached from town and blocked the exit lane and the Kenya Navy soldiers jumped out of the vehicle and started assaulting a security guard, Wilson Obege, from Ismax Security company.

“The guards sought help from police officers, Constables Emmanuel Chigunda and Anwar Hassan, who were also assaulted by the soldiers,” police said.

In response to the incident, KDF headquarters said a probe had been launched by the Military Police and other investigative agencies to determine the cause of the confrontation.

KDF also expressed regret over the incident and emphasized its commitment to professionalism.

“This evening at the Likoni Ferry, KDF soldiers were involved in a scuffle that has been circulated through various social media mediums. To establish the circumstances leading to the incident, Military Police, and requisite investigation agencies are currently handling the matter. The incident is highly regrettable,” KDF said.

Viral video

In the heated encounter that was captured in a viral video military officers, hooded and armed with rifles, were seen roughing up the police officers in a chaotic scene that unfolded before the public’s eyes, amidst screams and pleas for restraint.

Even more alarming was the involvement of a private security guard who was also slapped during the altercation, as his colleagues tried in vain to intervene.

A voice in the background, presumably of a concerned citizen recording the incident, is heard pleading with the officers to stop the harassment, expressing disbelief at the violence unfolding before them.

A voice of a woman recording the video is heard pleading with the officers to stop the harassment.

“I don’t understand, what is wrong? Ohhh you are even beating up police officers? Why are you hitting him? Why are you doing this to us… this is too much. It is not right, leave him alone. This is unfair.”

A voice of a nearby KDF officer is heard in the video repeatedly asking: “Why is he charging his rifle? What is his intention?”

The 58 second video abruptly ends as a soldier approaches the woman recording, demanding that she stop, and she complies out of fear.

The tension escalated as a nearby KDF officer questioned the actions of his colleague, asking why he was charging his rifle and questioning his intentions.

In the other case reported in Rabai where another soldier, Sergeant George Lenga, was arrested, reports indicate that officers from Kambe Ribe had gone to Magao on Saturday morning to arrest a suspect identified as Tyson Shabaki who had been accused of assaulting a village mate.

The family agreed to surrender the suspect to Bondora Police post and they later did. While at the police post, Sergeant Lenga who is also a cousin to the suspect and together with his uncle, Edwin Lenga who is an employee of the Coast Water Development Authority insisted that the suspect should not be placed in custody.

They then assaulted Constable William Omondi before breaking the steel door and window pane of the report office and let the suspect escape.

The also assaulted the complainant in the assault case before the officers at the post called for reinforcement and the soldier and his uncle were arrested. Though other cases had been reported before, the Lodwar incident of April 17 was one of the altercation that shocked the authorities.

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