Assaulted NTV cameraman speaks out on brutal attack
Police brutality ushered in the curfew for Coast residents as cops descended on hapless citizens two hours before the curfew.
Not spared were media personnel with Nation Media Group NTV cameraman Peter Wainaina being clobbered by an Administration Police officer, as he struggled to balance his camera.
The brutality on the journalist, which was roundly condemned by the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG), Kenya Union of Journalist (KUJ), came as a shocker as the was recording the new measures the police, and coastguard had effected at the ferry crossing.
“I was actually doing my work and it caught me by surprise in the brutality this policeman netted on me. I did not provoke him, and it was uncalled for,” Mr. Wainaina said.
Coast regional police boss Rashid Yakub apologised for the incident terming it unfortunate, and uncalled for.
“Please advise the journalist to record a statement at the Central police station in Mombasa, get an Occurrence Book (OB) number so that we can take appropriate action against this officer. We do not condone such incidents, and his actions have no place in the force,” Mr Yakub said.
Churchill Otieno, the president of Editor Guild said that this wasn’t an officer of the law, but a criminal.
“We demand that he is immediately disarmed and prosecuted in a court of law. The public have a right to timely, accurate information hence journalists must be allowed to work,” Mr Otieno said.
The KUJ Secretary General Eric Oduor said that this was another unfortunate incident which showed police service’s low value for the work journalists do.
“This is a matter we shall revisit and report it to the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) and the Inspector General (IG) Hillary Mutyambai for action. We will go for these specific police officers caught assaulting journalists. This is a classic case where will use to settle this. We have the footage of the said officer, and we will want action taken,” Mr Oduor said.
Police officers also went on another brutal spree beating up hundreds of ferry users who had refused to line up before getting into the ferries at the Likoni crossing channel.
The officers who were armed with batons got into a beating spree of the commuters after they crowded and tried to force themselves towards the Likoni crossing channel.
The commuters complained they were getting late as the curfew time was fast approaching.
The officers hurled teargas canisters at the crowd as they mercilessly beat up the people seriously injuring them.
Women who were caught in the melee were left with tears after they were beaten and frogged-marched by the irate officers.
A near stampede occurred as the hundreds of the pedestrians were forced back to the line that had stretched past PCEA church and meandered within Kizingo streets.
For the better part of the day, police have been forcing commuters to line up to allow them to observe the one-metre social distance once they get into the ferries.
The measure has been announced by the government in its effort to deal with the spread of coronavirus.
Ironically, in the line that the commuters were being forced into, the one-metre distance was not being observed.
The officers, Nairobi News, witnessed only ensured that the distance was being observed inside the ferries.
“There is a curfew that was announced and they putting us in line. It is taking a lot of time before we get on the ferry and they said that the ferries will not operate after 6pm. Why are they subjecting us to torture?” posed one of the commuters who had lined up.
On Thursday, Coast regional commissioner John Elungata said there will be no ferries at night.
Mr Elungata said that ferries will be available as from 5.30am to 6pm in the evening.
During peak hours, he said three ferries will be available to carry pedestrians only and the fourth vessel to ferry vehicles only.
— Churchill Otieno (@otienoc) March 27, 2020