Human rights crusaders in the Coast region have called for speedy investigations into an incident in which a police officer shot and killed a bodaboda operator and later committed suicide Thursday night.
The officer, who was stationed at the Malindi International Airport, is said to have shot the young man following a dispute over the payment of Sh50 for the service rendered by the rider and then ran away and hid in a nearby thicket where he later shot himself and died.
Haki Africa, Haki Yetu, Pwani Social Justice Working Group and the Malindi Community Human Rights Centre condemned the killing of the middle-aged father of two and called on relevant government authorities to dig deep into the incident and ensure it does not recur.
They called on the government to ensure that the family of the deceased motorcyclist gets justice for its relative. They also called on the National Police Service to be mindful of the mental health of officers.
Addressing the media separately in Malindi Town Friday, the officials said it was wrong for police officers to use force against unarmed Kenyans but instead live up to their calling of protecting lives.
Haki Africa’s Matthew Shipeta said his organization had already alerted Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to be present during the post-mortem that will be carried out on the deceased rider’s body next Thursday.
"We have noted with a lot of concern how police officers are working. You cannot allow an armed police officer to go on a drinking spree and expect good things. This is laxity among his supervisor,” he said.
Peter Kazungu, the Programmes Manager of Haki Yetu organization urged the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) to take up the matter and ensure the family gets justice and adequate compensation.
He urged the bodaboda community to be calm and allow security agents to handle the matter, noting that attacking innocent Kenyans due to anger would be counterproductive.
Similar sentiments were made by Malindi Community Human Rights Centre Chairman Victor Kaudo and Simon Kazungu of Pwani Social Justice Working Group.
Bodaboda operators led by the Malindi Umbrella Bodaboda Operators Association, John Randu Nzai and Anne Matheka, a female bodaboda operator condemned the incident but urged their members to avoid being in conflict with the police.
The rider’s father, Thomas Hamisi, called for speedy investigations into the matter saying his son had left a young family.
The officer identified as David Mukiri is alleged to have shot at Elvis Baya Thoya three times, killing him instantly following a disagreement, sparking protests from the motorcycle bodaboda community.
The incident caused tension near the airport Thursday night where rowdy bodaboda operators burnt tyres and lit bonfires as the riders protested against the killing of their colleague, forcing police officers to use tear gas to disperse them.
The officers were also forced to lob teargas canisters outside the Malindi Sub County Hospital Friday morning as they transported the body of their colleague, who shot himself dead after the incident in order to scare away hundreds of bodaboda operators who were escorting them with blaring horns.
Journalists, who had just covered a press briefing, at the Malindi Sub County Hospital mortuary found themselves in the midst of a cloud of teargas, causing them to choke and gasp for air as they drove away from the scene.
Malindi Deputy County Commissioner Thuo wa Ngugi confirmed that the officer killed the rider and then ran into a thicket next to the airport where he shot himself in the throat and died.
He said the officer’s body was found early Friday morning with his gun lying beside him.
It is true that the officer killed himself in a thicket near the airport. His colleagues found his body with his gun lying beside it,” the administrator told the Kenya News Agency on phone.
An official signal from the Malindi police station had earlier confirmed the demise of the bodaboda operator by an officer known as David Mukiri following a disagreement over unknown reasons.
The signal indicated that the officer left his duty post and crossed the Malindi-Mombasa Road to buy some snacks and that on his way back, he met with the bodaboda operator and started arguing with him for unknown reasons.
However, witnesses told journalists that there is no food kiosk across the road since the airport is a protected area and no one can opposite the gate, which is under 24-hour police surveillance.