Families of teenagers who were killed by police in Mombasa are living in fear, claiming that they have received threats from unknown people who want them to stop pursuing justice for their kin.
The mother of Juma Kitsao, 18, and Bilal Masoud, 17, who were killed in Utange, Kisauni Sub-County, said they have had sleepless nights since the death of their sons.
Ms Majumaa Ngao, Bilal’s mother, said a neighbour had warned her and her son’s friends against selling mitumba clothes. “She looks at them suspiciously and tells them not to sell the clothes. It scares me,” said Ms Majumaa.
Ms Sadaka Kitsao, who lives in the same area as Majumaa, also said the same woman, whose name they did not disclose, had once showed her a picture she took with her son.
“After I buried Juma, she came to my place and showed me his picture. When I asked where she got it from she said she has always had it. I wondered why she had his picture,” said Ms Kitsao.
The two women said at the time of the shooting, most people were locked up in their houses and told not to come out until after the teenagers had been shot.
“Most of them have fled. The few who have remained witnessed the shooting, but cannot testify, saying they would rather testify as a group but not individually because they know they will not be safe,” said Ms Majumaa.
The two also said police officers have been seen making rounds in their village.
The families, who are now being helped by the Muslim for Human Rights (Muhuri) and Independent Policing Oversight Authority, said those who witnessed the killings cannot testify because they also fear for their lives.
Muhuri rapid response officer Francis Auma accused the police of interfering with their investigations as they “frequently send the organisation threatening messages”.
“As a human rights group, we have received direct threats from the police with some of them telling us that we should stop following up cases of injustice especially on the families of those suspected to be killed by police,” said Mr Auma.
He said Muhuri has had two cases in Malindi, a case in Lamu and Kinango where their officers were sent to a safe house because their lives were in danger after being threatened.
“There is a breakdown in communication between security agents and communities,” he said.
He urged Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to intervene.
The families want help from the government to get justice for their slain sons who they insist were not criminals as claimed by the police.
The teenagers were gunned down together with their friend Kenga Ramadhan, 19, on September 6.
By Daily Nation