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Police on the spot for ‘lying’ about officer’s death in Kisumu protests

By Daily Nation

Authorities are on the spot over claims that a police officer who died during demonstrations in Kisumu last week was killed by protesters.

This is after an NTV exposé revealed that he was run over by a police vehicle.

Investigations into the death of Corporal Ben Oduor, who died during last Thursday’s anti-government protests, have been thrown into a spin with fresh details emerging that he was not killed by a stone hurled by protesters as earlier reported.

Police officers present during the protests told NTV their colleague missed a step when hopping back onto their Toyota Land Cruiser while trying to escape the rowdy protesters and was crushed underneath the wheels as the vehicle sped off.

Attached to Keroka Police Station in Nyamira County, Corporal Oduor was commanding a team of officers trying to quell anti-government protests called by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party leader Raila Odinga.

According to an earlier police report, Mr Oduor was seriously injured by protesters and was rushed to the Aga Khan Hospital where he later died while undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit.

This narrative now appears to be nothing but a smokescreen to cover up the real cause of Mr Oduor’s death. At first, the police signal stated that Mr Oduor was overwhelmed by protesters who descended on him with kicks and blows.

Later on, Mr Noah Mwivanda, who was the Nyanza Regional Police Commander at the time but was recalled to the police headquarters Tuesday, said the corporal was hit by a stone launched from a giant homemade catapult near Jamia Supermarket.

Incidentally, the second version of events emerged after a video made the rounds showing at least four men operating such a contraption. This account is a lie, according to our sources who sought anonymity for security reasons.

The sources said Mr Oduor was trying to hurriedly climb back into the co-driver’s seat while beating a hasty retreat after they were overpowered by protesters but missed his step and was run over.

Surprisingly, the other officers did not stop the vehicle to help their injured colleague but proceeded to the station to get a refill of tear gas before coming back to repulse the crowds.

Vigilance House, the national police service headquarters, in Nairobi. Authorities are on the spot over claims that a police officer who died during demonstrations in Kisumu last week was killed by protesters. Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

“Alikimbia kuingia kwa gari mbele.Gari ilikua imetoka so everybody was following the vehicle. So Ben akienda kuboard mbele, he missed a step akaanguka. Right leg ikaingia chini ya gari, gari ikampita juu (Mr Oduor ran to board the car but it was on the move and everybody was following it. He missed a step and fell down. His right leg was got caught under the wheels and the rest of his body followed and he was crushed to death),” a witness of the incident, who sought anonymity, said.

Autopsy report

A postmortem report seen by Nation has exposed the inconsistencies in the explanation given by the police of Mr Oduor’s death after revealing that the officer bears no injuries on the upper body.

The report showed that his lower body from the waist down was entirely crushed. His family said his phone, which was in his pocket, was extensively damaged. Before his transfer from Kisumu, Mr Mwivanda told reporters that two suspects were arrested over the corporal’s death and are to be charged with murder.

Shortly before NTV ran this story on Wednesday night, Mr Oduor’s family, who had promised to give interviews about their kin’s death, vanished. One family member, who had already been interviewed on record, also called requesting his interview not be used.

With all these unfolding details, key questions remain unanswered. Who is working so hard to cover up Mr Oduor’s death? Why would the police, whose credibility and authenticity in reporting happenings should be unquestionable, give a false report on their colleague’s death?

Asked by Nation what the true record of events led to Mr Oduor’s death, Police Spokesperson Resila Onyango requested for some time to get in touch with the Nyanza Police Command and get back to Nation.

“I have to get back to the region where the incident happened and get the right information before getting back to you on the matter,” she said.

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