The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has taken over the investigations of an incident in which a 25 year old man died at the Ratado police post in West Ugenya, Siaya allegedly after being tortured.
The County Police Commander (CPC), Francis Kooli told KNA on Tuesday that the sleuths had made some strides in their investigations and were waiting for a postmortem to be conducted on the body of the late Sylvester Otieno Odoi before deciding on the way forward.
This comes in the wake of concerns by the West Ugenya residents that attempts were being made to cover up the real cause of the death in order to get a policemen and village elder involved in the act, off the hook.
The residents have appealed to the Independent Police Oversight Authority, Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) and other agencies to come to the aid of the destitute family so that they could get justice for their son.
Kooli said that initial reports from security officers on the ground indicated that the deceased had been arrested for allegedly stealing some old iron sheets, but was released after the owner decided to drop charges.
He was released and went home, but reports from the police post indicated that Odoi’s relatives later turned up with him at the nearby health centre while drunk.
The CPC’s comments however, differed sharply with the narrative from the family and villagers who maintain that the deceased was well until when he was arrested and hauled into a cell at the police post.
They said that the deceased was not a thief but had innocently been contracted by his friend to look for a market for some old iron sheets.
“It is the same friend who reported to a village elder that he had allegedly lost the iron sheets and knew the thief,” they said.
The villagers said it was the same village elder who dragged the deceased from a homestead in the neighbouring Nyamila and bundled him on a motorcycle that sped off to the police post, where they handed him over to police.
“The scene was horrible. They handcuffed his hands and tied him to a window frame while beating him,” said a worker at a hotel adjacent to the police post, adding that he had never heard a man cry for mercy like that.
The deceased’s father, Godfrey Odoi, narrated how their efforts to have his first born son released fell on deaf ears as the policemen manning the post demanded for a Sh.3,000 bribe.
He said that an attempt by one of his sons to part with Sh.1, 000 was rejected as they were thrown out and ordered to go look for more money.
It is was soon after they left the post that they saw the police carry the deceased to the nearby Sifuyo health centre, claimed the dejected father.
Odoi, a villager who does menial jobs in the village to eke a living, says all he wants is the suspected killers of his son to be brought to book.
By Philip Onyango