Bomet man accuses police of pushing him out of moving car - Beaking Kenya News

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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Bomet man accuses police of pushing him out of moving car

WesleyƂ Bosuben

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A man admitted to hospital with multiple leg injuries, after he was reportedly pushed out of a speeding police car in Bomet County, has decried bribery and human rights abuses by police.
Wesley Bosuben, 31, underwent a surgery on his left leg at Litein AIC Mission Hospital in Kericho County following the incident he says took place in Konoin constituency on February 19.
He claimed six police officers on patrol at Kipkoibet trading centre in Embomos Ward arrested him alongside a businessman he identified as Robert Mutai. They allegedly demanded a Sh10,000 bribe to set them free.
"The officers stopped us outside a restaurant after we closed the business for the day at around 9pm last Tuesday. They bundled us into a waiting Land Cruiser, registration GKB 980T,” said the butchery operator based at the trading centre.
Speaking from his hospital bed, with a plaster and metal fittings on the leg, Mr Bosuben said he and Mr Mutai did not have the amount the officers demanded.
“We had only Sh 2,000, which the officers declined to take when we offered it to them. They detained us in the car and drove around the centre, rounding up residents and letting them go after they parted with unknown amounts of money,” he said.
Mr Bosuben said some residents ganged up against the police, put up a blockade, demanded an explanation and threatened to set them free as well as burn the vehicle.
“As a result of the confrontation, the officers lobbed teargas canisters at the surging crowd and drove off. After about half a kilometer, they threw us out of the speeding vehicle with handcuffs on,” he saidin an interview at the hospital on February 23.
He said they choked from the tear gas from a canister that police threw out of the moving car and which went off.
Mr Bosuben's left hand got swollen as the handcuffs tightened while he hang onto rails to avoid landing on his head.
A doctor at Litein hospital, who did not want to be named, said Mr Bosuben would undergo another operation in two weeks.
“He was brought in with multiple leg fractures ... he claims he was thrown out of a moving vehicle," he said.
Mr Bosuben has accrued a bill of Sh50,000 so far, having paid Sh20,000 on admission as well as Sh2,500 daily for his bed and medication.
“I cannot afford to pay the bill which increases by the day as I am an orphan and I do not have the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover,” he said.
However, the police account of events contradicted Mr Bosuben's, Konoin divisional police commander (OCPD) Alex Shikondi saying he jumped out of the car in a bid to escape from custody.
The OCPD also said that he was arrested four people for being drunk and disorderly.
“Police on patrol arrested a number of youths at the trading centre and while on their way to the station, they found the road barricaded by youths who pelted the police car with stones. The officers fired several times in the air to disperse them," said Mr Shikondi.
In the process, he said, a man who had been handcuffed jumped out of the car, dragging another with then.
“The first one to jump sustained leg and hand injuries while the one he had been handcuffed to sustained bruises and was treated and discharged from hospital,” said Mr Shikondi.
This was not the first time for police to raid the trading centre in the far-flung part of the constituency, rich with tea plantations.
“A week earlier, they rounded us up and demanded Sh1,000 from each of 23 residents, mostly youths. Those who did not have the money were taken to the police station until the following day when their relatives parted with cash to secure their freedom,” said Mr Bosuben.
He said those who could not raise the money were not lucky as they were taken to court and charged with all manner of offences – all trumped-up.
Police in the constituency have been criticised on allegations of human rights abuses, with local leaders and residents demanding the overhaul of all offices.
“We have repeatedly raised the issue of police brutality with their superiors but no action has been taken. The officers seem to have been licensed to threaten, intimidate and arrest innocent residents going about their business,” said Konoin legislator Brighton Yegon.
Mr Yegon said hundreds of cases remained unreported as victims fear reprisal.
“Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinet should take this up as a matter of priority and transfer all police officers, from juniors to seniors, from the area,” the MP said.

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