Kenyan Police Officer Faces Murder Charges Over Student Deaths
A Nairobi police officer is facing murder charges over the death of two university students, after an investigation by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).
The probe found that police officers who handled the case gave false information about the students in order to protect Constable Patrick Thuranira’s actions. The police officer is now accused of killing both students in the Kenyan capital last year.
False information in official police report
The official police report that followed the incident claimed the two victims were muggers, but the IPOA investigation has revealed the pair were nothing more than students travelling to the capital to manage finances and visit family members.
The police then booked the victims as “unknown,” despite the fact they had their national and student identity cards with them. It took their families two weeks to locate and identify the bodies of Dennis Ongwae Magomere and Felix Ngaywa Nyangena.
Investigations confirmed that neither student was involved in muggings prior to their killing and that Constable Thuranira was off duty, out of uniform and armed with a pistol when he confronted the pair.
“They visited Anniversary Towers and later visited relatives within Nairobi. They were leaving the Nairobi CBD to a relative’s house in Mathare North when they encountered the constable,” said a statement from the IPOA. “He was off duty and not in uniform but was armed with a police pistol, which he used to kill the two students.”
DPP orders prosecution, murder charges
The IPOA forwarded its report to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with the recommendation that Thuranira be charged with murder. The DPP concurred with the IPOA report and its recommendation, ordering that Thuranira be prosecuted for the murder of both students.
The IPOA is a civilian body, formed in 2012 to monitor the police in Kenya, however no convictions have resulted from IPOA investigations so far. More than 30 police officers have now been charged with offences and prosecution could see the first convictions of police officers from the organisation’s findings.