Africa

Protests erupt in Kenya after alleged police killing over curfew breach

Residents in capital suburb accuse police of killing 38-year-old John Kiiru out during curfew hours

Andrew Wasike   | 19.08.2021
Protests erupt in Kenya after alleged police killing over curfew breach

NAIROBI, Kenya

Angry residents of Kenya's capital Nairobi burned tires on Thursday to protest the death of a 38-year-old man allegedly killed by police for violating curfew rules.

The protesters barricaded roads with large stones and set tires alight to disrupt traffic in the busy commercial suburb of Kayole located on the outskirts of Nairobi after the killing of John Kiiru on Wednesday night.

Irate locals accused the police of killing Kiiru, well-known in the area, for flaunting curfew rules.

"He was killed by the police officers because he had contravened the 10-p.m.-to-4 a.m. curfew, he was on his way home," local resident Timothy Kimani told Anadolu Agency.

Police shot teargas canisters in a bid to disperse the crowds chanting slogans such as "Stop killing us" and "End police brutality," with businesses shuttered through the day.

Kimani's wife Esther Wanjiru told local media at the scene that she had last heard from her husband when he called shortly after midnight to say he had been seriously injured by police. His body was found on Thursday morning.

"They're using the curfew to kill us and to harass hardworking young people. Many people are dying at the hands of our rogue police officers," lamented Lincoln Njuguna, another protestor.

HAKI, an African human rights group based in Kenya, condemned the alleged killing and demanded an end to police brutality.

This comes just a week after two brothers were killed while in police custody after allegedly breaking the COVID-19 curfew. Locals said 22-year-old Benson Njiru Ndwiga and 19-year-old Emmanuel Mutura Ndigwa were last seen alive in police custody.

Six police officers suspected of links to the brothers' murder have so far been arraigned in court.

Rights groups in Kenya reported last year that police had killed at least 20 people while enforcing COVID-19 rules.

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