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IG Koome defends police conduct during anti-government protests

The inspector general of police, Japheth Koome, has defended the conduct of police officers during the recent anti-government protests.

According to the IG, the officers working to restore law and order during the demonstrations against the high cost of living conducted their duties within the law. Speaking in Nyeri at Police Training College in Kiganjo during the launch of a Station Commanders Development course, Koome said that as a service, they will continue to discharge their duties without losing focus.

“I have professional officers. I commend them all for they have done a good job. Ours as police is to ensure we facilitate trade to go on in this country by ensuring there is peace,” said Koome.

A total of 750 police officers will be attending the Station Commanders Development Course for servicemen who were recently promoted to the rank Chief Inspectors. Out of these, 377 hold various university degrees.

Koome has also accused Azimio la Umoja One Kenya of peddling propaganda with the intention of tainting the image of the police service. He said the opposition had resorted to spreading threats about prosecuting the force in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for violating human rights during the demonstrations instead of setting a good example.

“There is a lot of propaganda out there whose intention is to demoralise officers, which is unfortunate. We have seen in the recent past senior members of society going to mortuaries and hiring dead bodies and calling the media to tell them that the people were killed by police,” said Koome.

“How low can some of our leaders sink?” He posed.

Last month, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance called on the ICC to intervene in the ongoing situation in the country. In a statement through National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, Azimio la Umoja asked the ICC to take an interest in the cases of police brutality emerging amid the ongoing anti-government protests.

Their petition came after Amnesty International reported that at least 30 civilians and one police officer had died, while a total of 305 people suffered injuries, nine police stations were damaged and 158 vehicles destroyed during the demonstrations.

Nevertheless, the IG has warned the opposition against holding illegal demonstrations, as the bipartisan dialogue to unlock the impasse resumes Wednesday, saying that they will be dealt with firmly and decisively. He also asked the youth to desist from being influenced by politicians, whom he termed selfish.

“We are going to deal with you without fear or favour and we will use the equipment bought by members of the public through their taxes. Those bullets, guns, and teargas have been entrusted to me by Kenyans to protect their property,” he said.

“Do not lie to yourself that I will wait for those young men to break into police stations and steal my guns. That decision you make to attack an officer, a police station will be met with equal force,” added Koome.

By Wangari Mwangi

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