Get to the bottom of Riruta cop shooting
On Thursday, junior police officers shot at their senior, an inspector, in circumstances that raise more questions than answers.
Sadly, the inspector died while undergoing treatment at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital, where another policeman is also admitted with injuries on the left wrist, arising from the same incident.
It was reported the inspector was involved in an altercation with boda boda operators, which led to him drawing his service firearm and threatened to shoot at them.
The incident saw the boda boda riders alert policemen on patrol, who responded but their senior opened fire, prompting a return of the same fire that fatally injured him.
The incident does raise serious issues concerning the handling of firearms, especially by the same people entrusted with the maintenance of law and order.
While the mishandling of firearms by civilians is well documented, incidents involving police officers continue unabated, with questions being asked about the psychological condition of many officers who may be in serious need of psycho-social care and counselling.
In the incident, it is not clear if the officers on patrol shot warning bullets before actually shooting at the target to either immobilise or kill. Did they identify themselves to the senior cop?
On the part of the inspector, why was he out alone while armed, in circumstances that suggest he may have been under the influence of alcohol? Was he on duty?
Why did he not identify himself to the junior officers, especially after the boda boda riders raised the alarm?
It is important the incident be probed, with a clear objective to establish if firearms were misused and whether anyone was culpable.
Granted, there are clear guidelines on how and when officers are assigned firearms. There are guidelines, too, that provide working relations between officers from different stations and commands.
Were these violated? Were the police officers from the same divisional or station command? If so, how come the juniors did not know or were unable to identify their senior until it was too late?
These and other questions must be answered and circumstances surrounding the incident uncovered.
In short, this sort of incident must not happen again, whether involving police officers, or, indeed, civilians.