Ipoa sent to Embu to probe deaths of two brothers who had been arrested

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The two brothers, Benson Njiru, 22, and Emmanuel Mutura, 19, were last seen alive in Kianjokoma town on Sunday night as police arrested them for being outside during curfew hours. Image: COURTESY

The Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai has sent a team of detectives from the Internal Affairs Unit to investigate an incident in which two brothers were Wednesday found dead at the Embu Level Five hospital mortuary.

The bodies were discovered three days after they were arrested for allegedly breaking Covid-19 rules.

The two brothers, Benson Njiru, 22, and Emmanuel Mutura, 19, were last seen alive in Kianjokoma town on Sunday night as police arrested them for being outside during curfew hours.

Njiru was a student at Kabarak University. His brother Mutura studied at Don Bosco Technology Training Institute in Karen, Nairobi.

They were out on long holidays and were making some money in the meantime.

Independent Policing Oversight Authority chairperson Anne Makori said she had sent a team to the area to help their Meru counterparts in the probe.

“Ipoa has this morning deployed investigators from its Nairobi headquarters to beef up their Meru Rapid Investigations counterparts who launched their investigations yesterday.”

This is intended to fast-track the investigations.

Upon conclusion of the investigations and pursuant to Section 6(a) of the Ipoa Act, the Authority will make recommendations, including prosecution if criminal culpability is established on the part of the police officers involved,” she said in a statement.

Makori said the authority also discourages members of the public from taking the law into their hands by attacking the police and damaging public property as was illustrated yesterday.

“In this regard, IPOA calls for public calmness and restraint as it undertakes thorough investigations into the matter.”

Their family claimed the brothers were brutally murdered by police officers.

But Embu East police boss Emily Ngaruiya claimed the brothers died after they jumped from a moving police vehicle.

She said the brothers succumbed to injuries after they jumped from a moving police vehicle and landed on a tarmac road at around 10.30 pm on Sunday.

Mutyambai said the team has instructions to get to the bottom of the matter and report to him the findings for action.

“They will report back as soon as possible with their findings for action,” he said.

It emerged a number of local leaders had petitioned the IG to institute an independent probe into the incident.

They argued the alibi given by local police was not satisfactory hence the need for an independent probe into the matter.

IAU director Mohamed Amin is leading the probe. Among others, the team will investigate the issue of negligence.

As part of efforts to strengthen the unit’s operations, IAU has been allowed to establish and devolve its services to conduct investigations into police misconduct in a fair and effective manner and report directly to the Inspector General.

The unit is mandated to among others deal with cases of indiscipline, including corruption, police misconduct within the police service either raised by an officer or members of the public.

The Embu deaths sparked protests in the area Wednesday leading to the torching of a police vehicle.

The area police boss Ngaruiya said police officers were enforcing Covid-19 rules when they came across the two brothers and nine other suspects on Sunday night and bundled them into a police vehicle.

She claimed the two young men jumped out of the police vehicle without the knowledge of the officers.

When the officers arrived at the Manyatta police station, they discovered the two brothers were missing and went back to look for them.

It was then that they found them lying on the roadside with serious head injuries and took them to the Embu Level Five Hospital for treatment where they were declared dead.

The parents of the two men, John Ndwiga and Catherine Wawira claimed their children were murdered by the police and their bodies secretly taken to the mortuary without their knowledge to cover up evidence.

When the brothers failed to return home on Sunday night, the family started searching for them.

They later reported them as missing at the Manyatta police station where the officers were not cooperative until Wednesday when they discovered the bodies.

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