Isiolo leaders and residents have protested over growing cases of extrajudicial killings allegedly perpetrated by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers.
This follows recent killing of a young man in Kinna, Garbatulla.
Residents say the about 20 rangers who were in convoy of five vehicles shot the man, who was riding on a motorbike. The rangers then sprayed his lifeless body with more bullets, the locals added.
The officers then allegedly partially burned the body before leaving the area which is about 35 kilometres from the Meru National Park and the Bisanadi Game Reserve.
MEN ON MOTORBIKE
But according to KWS Head of Corporate Communications Paul Mburu, the rangers were on patrol in Guticha when they encountered two men who were riding on a motorbike and stopped them.
It is while the two were being interrogated by the officers that another motorbike with three people came along and refused to stop, Mr Mburu said.
“The rider refused to stop and instead opened fire, forcing the rangers to respond, killing him on the spot,” Mr Mburu said.
He said an AK-47 rifle, 49 rounds of ammunition and an undisclosed amount of bhang were seized.
Two people, Mohammed Kana and Abdullahi Halake, were arrested while another, Isaack Kanchora escaped.
This comes at a time when the locals and their leaders are complaining of what they claim is continued harassment by the KWS rangers.
One of the agitated residents, Mr Nura Dera, complained that families whose loved ones either disappeared under unclear circumstances or were allegedly killed by rangers are yet to get justice despite reporting the incidents to the authorities.
“We have on several occasions complained over the injustices but nothing has been done. We will not continue watching as our people are killed by KWS officers,” said Mr Dera.
While demanding the arrest of the rangers, Kinna MCA Isack Fayo said the man should have been arrested and prosecuted as provided for by law and not being killed.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that the man was transporting some narcotics.
“It is so unfortunate that they killed the man before substantiating his crime. Regardless of whether he was ferrying narcotics or not, he did not deserve such brutal killing. The rangers should have handled the case with National Police Service,” the MCA said.
The locals faulted the wildlife officers for taking the law into their hands whenever they suspect one could be involved in poaching instead of making arrests and following the laid down legal process.
The MCA petitioned Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to investigate the conduct of KWS officers over the incident and alleged killing of suspected poachers in the region.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta should intervene and ensure that investigations into the incidents are expedited so that the senseless killings that have been happening in recent years come to an end,” Mr Fayo said.
Lobbies led by Isiolo human rights defenders have protested over the incident and written to Kenya National Commission on Human Rights for action against the rogue officers.
“We want the rangers investigated for the action which has caused agony to the young man’s family,” Lobby coordinator Ibrahim Waqo said.
Residents claim that over five people have been reportedly killed by KWS rangers and tens rendered impotent after being tortured by the officers in recent past.
MPs from the county recently petitioned the DPP to probe the rangers over alleged disappearance of suspected poachers.
Isiolo Woman Rep Rehema Jaldesa said at least 12 cases of disappearance under unclear circumstances had been reported by last December.
“We are not supporting poaching but want the law to be followed. Cases of our people being killed and their bodies fed to the wild animals should not happen,” said Ms Jaldesa.
Senator Fatuma Dullo cited a March 21, 2015 incident in which a young man was shot dead while 10 others were left nursing gunshot wounds.
“We want the KWS intelligence arm, which perpetrates these atrocities, to be investigated,” Ms Dullo said recently.
And speaking on the incident that sparked the latest protests, Igembe North Sub-County Police Commander Apollo Busolo Ambunya said his officers recovered a gun, some bullets and bhang at the scene and that investigations are ongoing to establish what transpired.