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Monday October 02, 2023

Kenyan police change stance on Arshad Sharif killing

By News Report & Our Correspondent
October 27, 2022
Anchor Arshad Sharif. —AFP
Anchor Arshad Sharif. —AFP

NAIROBI/ISLAMABAD: The Kenyan police Wednesday changed their earlier stance after a cop present at the crime scene claimed that they were fired at first, prompting a fatal shooting at the car carrying senior journalist and anchor Arshad Sharif.

Initially, a report made at the Magadi police station using OB number 14/23/10/2022 said that the occupants of the Toyota Land Cruiser defied orders to stop at the road block in Kamukuru, prompting the officers to shoot at it.

A news update by Kenyan publication, The Star, Wednesday stated that the police were investigating the event and the injury to one of the officers involved in the shootout to see if there were any additional shooters.

It stated that the law enforcement personnel will also question the owners of Ammodump Kwenia Shooting Range, where Sharif spent the day before being killed. As per the publication, the said shooting range defines itself as a crucial training ground for security officers wishing to improve their shooting skills.

“We specialise in Defence and Security equipment. Ammodump was formed in 2015 by a group of like-minded individuals who sought to combine best-in-class brands, assets and people within the complex risk management industry,” said the publication about the range.

The publication also reported that Sharif’s driver, Khurram Ahmed, was the brother of the owner of the range, Waqar Ahmed. Khurram had called Waqar after the shooting and informed him of the incident. It was then that Waqar instructed his brother to drive Sharif to a shopping centre for first aid.

The driver is being considered among persons of interest in the probe. The publication had tried reaching out to him but was unsuccessful. The publication stated that Corporal Kelvin Mutuku, one of the officers involved in the shooting, was admitted to a hospital with a bullet injury on his left palm.

The publication shared that the corporal said he and his colleagues were fired upon before the car carrying Sharif approached the roadblock they had established. The Star reported the officers, who were trainers at the local police training camp, claimed that they were positioned in one area at the time of the incident and it was unlikely the bullet was a friendly fire.

The first shot is being claimed as the reason for the subsequent shooting at Sharif’s car. The publication said Corporal Mutuku told the police that they drove from the training camp to the site of the shooting after they received information that a car that was missing was sighted in the Kiserian area of Kenya. The cops then formed a roadblock using stones, parked their car a few metres away with the lights on, and waited for the car to arrive. The officer said a caller provided them with information that a car was racing towards them.

The officer claimed that a few minutes after that call, the car with Sharif along with his driver, drove past the roadblock despite seeing the police car’s lights on. He claimed that they tried to stop the car but were shot at first, prompting the fatal shooting.

The publication stated that the officer told the police that Sharif’s driver, Khurram, drove a few kilometers ahead and stopped the car at his brother’s home after realising Sharif had died of bleeding. It was then that the police arrived at the scene and interrogated him before moving the body to the mortuary. The officers searched the car but did not find any weapon or suspicious substance.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan Police’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) which has taken over the case will take the weapons taken from the officers for ballistic tests to establish which one was used. They will also look if a different bullet had hit corporal Mutuku. Meanwhile, a high-level two-member joint investigation team — comprising top officials from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) — has been constituted to find out the facts related to the murder of senior journalist and anchor Arshad Sharif in Kenya. The investigators will look into the role of a person connected to a private channel in Pakistan and engaged in the gold smuggling business in Kenya, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said. The JIT comprises Athar Waheed, Director FIA and Omar Shahid Hamid, Deputy Director General IB.

Earlier, the government notified a three-member JIT, including one member from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) but he was dropped and a two-member team was announced in the second notification. Constituted by the interior ministry, the JIT was set to depart for Kenya Wednesday night.

According to a press statement issued from the office of the interior minister, the investigators will immediately leave for Kenya and submit the final report to the ministry. The team will examine the factors that forced Arshad Sharif to leave Pakistan to Dubai and then to Kenya.

The team will prepare an independent report in light of the information and evidence gathered from the Kenya police and other sources. According to interior ministry sources, the Kenyan police have not yet rounded up Khurram and Waqar for investigation who have now disappeared from the scene, probably, to avoid investigation hinting at a possible conspiracy. The investigation team has been directed to cover each and every aspect of the case.