Shooting of schoolboy, 7, sparks public outrage

Wednesday November 29 2017

Ms Elizabeth Katungwa, mother of seven-year-old

Ms Elizabeth Katungwa, mother of seven-year-old Geoffrey Mutinda (right), speaks to journalists in her Pipeline Estate home in Nairobi, yesterday. Geoffrey was allegedly shot dead by police officers. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By FRED MUKINDA
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By STEPHEN MUTHINI
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Pressure was mounting Wednesday on the government to take action against a police officer believed to have shot dead a seven-year-old boy as he played with his friends on a balcony at home.

Residents of Nairobi’s Pipeline Estate, where the boy was shot, said the administration policeman was on a motorbike and is known around Eastlands where he regularly conducts security patrols.

They said the officer usually visits places frequented by youths who play pool and demands money from the operators.

MOTORCYCLE

On Tuesday, the officer was riding on a motorcycle together with two other colleagues in civilian clothes when he fired the killer shot, one of the residents said.

The bullet hit Geoffrey Mutinda on the head, killing him on the spot.

A pregnant woman on the same balcony was also shot in the thigh by the same bullet.

She was rushed to Shalom hospital in Athi River and later transferred to Machakos hospital where she was operated on and the bullet retrieved.
A spokesperson for the United States, Ms Heather Nauert, in a statement condemned trigger-happy police officers and said it is “deeply concerned by the ongoing political tension in Kenya.”

“We urge security forces to refrain from the use of unnecessary force against citizens exercising their democratic rights,” said the statement.

Nairobi police commander Japheth Koome, however, dismissed allegations that the police were involved, claiming the boy could have been shot by criminals.

POLICE OPERATIONS

“Contrary to media reports, there is no police camp in Embakasi area known as Tassia AP Camp. Besides, there were no active police operations in Kware area on Wednesday.

However, there were police operations to deal with rioters around Jacaranda grounds and its environs in Donholm, about five kilometres away.

The unfortunate incident of the shooting is under investigation,” he said in a statement.

Violence hit parts of Eastlands, including Donholm and Jacaranda on Tuesday as supporters of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) engaged police in running battles as they protested against the swearing in of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

The violence did not spread to Pipeline where the boy was killed.

A Mr Musyoka, who said he had lived in the area for two years, said that at the time of the shooting, at around 1pm, there was a minor fracas in the area.

SHOOTING

“A group of people came running from Kware direction. All of a sudden everybody started running and others hurriedly shut their shops. Nobody knows the cause of the fracas. We don’t know whether it was because of the politics but the men on the motorbike shot at that time and sped off immediately.” Kware is a slum near Pipeline.

The boy’s mother Elizabeth Katungwa was in the house when a neighbour called her with the news of the shooting.

“I was washing clothes when he left the house. He said he was going out to play with my friend’s children,” she said. Her friend lives five blocks away.

“One of the children saw him fall down as they played. He rushed to the house and informed his mother who then called me. She also told me that people were running around but she did not know why,” said Ms Katungwa.

When the Nation arrived at the scene on Tuesday, the body lay on the floor at the spot where he was killed. His father Peter Mutuku sat on a stool weeping as he watched over the body that was covered with a sheet, soaked with blood. And when the Nation team visited yesterday, the floor was stained with blood where a tiny pair of shoes, which the boy wore on the fateful day lay. The police carried the body away yesterday morning.

BLOCK POLICE

Angry residents lit bonfires to block police from accessing the estate on Tuesday night.

Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa), communications officer Dennis Oketch said investigations had begun.

“ Ipoa will make recommendations and forward the file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions,” he said, adding that the findings would be made public.

The couple has another child, an 11-year-old girl, and Mutinda lived with relatives in Mwala, Machakos, where he was a Standard Two pupil at Remedy Academy. He had only come to Pipeline recently to visit his father after schools closed for the December holidays.

In?Machakos, County Chief Health Officer Jackson Nthanga confirmed the pregnant woman was admitted to the Machakos Level 5 hospital.

The hospital staff did not allow journalists to interview the patient, instead referring journalists to Deputy Governor Francis Maliti for clearance.Efforts to reach him on phone were unsuccessful.