Standard Media Group journalist Isaiah Gwengi. PHOTO | NELCON ODHIAMBOStandard Media Group journalist Isaiah Gwengi. PHOTO | NELCON ODHIAMBO
By RUSHDIE OUDIA @rushdieo3 [email protected]

A journalist with the Standard Group Limited based in Siaya County who was arrested in Usenge on Wednesday evening, has been released on free bond.

Mr Isaiah Gwengi, together with a human rights activist Rodgers Ochieng, were arrested by the Quick Response Team unit of the Administration police who were on patrol at the town.

The police accused the duo of inciting residents of Usenge who for two days have been up in arms over alleged harassment by the officers.

The duo were allegedly beaten and Mr Gwengi suffered head neck, hands, and waist injuries. He was further subjected to torture and bullying in a manner similar to the high school incidents.

“They took off my shoes and gave me to make a call with them, then they told me that my shoes are stinking that they cannot be kept in the police vehicle,” said Mr Gwengi.

The officers also took his phone and removed his two sim cards.

CIRCUMCISED

He added: “I was stripped naked and the officers demanded to check if I was circumcised.”

Trouble started when two traders were arrested on Tuesday and since then the town has been under a dusk to dawn curfew. The residents were threatening to hold a demonstration to condemn police brutality and to demand the release of the traders.

PHOTO | NELCON ODHIAMBO

PHOTO | NELCON ODHIAMBO

Mr Gwengi, who was in the process of interviewing the human rights activist, was then arrested alongside Mr Ochieng and bundled into the police van.

Together with Mr Ochieng, Mr Gwengi was taken to Got Agulu Hospital after area OCS refused to book them because they were bleeding and were seriously injured.

They were attended to at the hospital before being brought back to the cells at Usenge Police Station where they spent the night.

POLICE BRUTALITY STORIES

Standard Group Nyanza Bureau Chief Mr John Oywa said the journalist has been writing stories on police brutality, extortion and illegal charcoal business in the area, a matter that has put him on the war path with the authorities for a while now.

He expressed shock at the torture meted on his staff and demanded explanation from the police Headquarters for the unfortunate incident.

“I thought the police had transformed from a force to a service. This clearly shows that nothing has changed. The Inspector General of police Mr Joseph Boinnet must urgently investigate the activities of these officers,” said Mr Oywa.

Last month, they reported to the Director of Criminal Investigations in Bondo that their lives were in danger to the DCIO Bondo, there are also reports that have been submitted to IPOA.