NAIROBI/LONDON: The Chairperson of Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has said the matter of Arshad Sharif’s murder at the hands of Kenya’s police is under full and thorough investigation to establish the facts surrounding the shooting.
In an interview with Geo and The News, IPOA Chairperson Mrs. Anne Makori said the independent body had started a “full and thorough investigation to establish the circumstances surrounding the shooting” of Arshad Sharif on the night of October 23 by Kenya’s specialist General Services Unit (GSU) officers.
The IPOA chairperson spoke to the reporters after reports went viral that Arshad Sharif was brutally tortured before being killed. A leading TV anchor aired pictures of the alleged torture on the deceased’s body. Several sources aware of the investigation and those close to the deceased journalist have also confirmed seeing torture marks on the dead body.
When asked whether the IPOA took the issue of Pakistani journalist’s killing seriously, Mrs. Anne Makori said: “In tandem with my announcement earlier that IPOA had dispatched a rapid response team to the scene of incident to launch investigation into the alleged fatal shooting of Arshad Mohammed Sharif, a Pakistan national.” She said the IPOA team established that the police were involved in the shooting and the “matter falls within the mandate of IPOA”.
She said it’s now an established fact that Arshad Sharif “died as a result of a gunshot wound on his head”. She didn’t mention the second shot that entered into Arshad Sharif’s chest from his back and exited from the front, rupturing his lungs.
This aims at preventing impunity and enhancing accountability within the National Police Service. A day after Arshad Sharif was killed, Mrs. Makori said that she was aware of the incident and that officials from the organisation had been sent to the scene of crime to ascertain what had happened.
The reporters understand that she based her facts from a report following an autopsy carried out by government pathologist Dr Johanes Oduor, which differed with that conducted in Pakistan that saw the recovery of a bullet that was retrieved from his chest.
Dr Oduor two weeks ago told the Kenyan media that if a bullet is found in the body of a dead person during post-mortem, they usually hand it over to the police for investigations. Mrs. Anne Makori said the killing matter was now under a thorough probe and “IPOA will make appropriate recommendations once investigations are completed.”
The National Police Service (NPS) in Kenya a day after the incident released a statement which was signed by former police boss Mr Bruno Shioso which said the police are investigating the incident for appropriate action. “The National Police Service regrets this unfortunate incident. The competent authorities are currently investigating the incident for appropriate action,” Shioso said.
The Kenyan police have claimed that Arshad Sharif was in the vehicle with Khurram Ahmed and they approached a police roadblock when flagged to stop they went on driving which led to a deadly shootout.
A police report from the Magadi Police Station said Sharif’s shooting was a case of mistaken identity as GSU officers tracked a stolen car on Kuenia Farm/Kamukuru Road in Kajiado County. They were asked to stop but they did not. “It was then they heard gunshots towards their vehicle directed from the front and rear. They did not stop and proceeded with the journey.”
The police report stated that Sharif died from a gunshot at the back of his head which exited in the front after the vehicle came under a hail of bullets from the officers.
In a post-mortem conducted in Pakistan, eight pathologists conducted a second post-mortem on the Pakistani journalist who found a bullet lodged in his chest.
The pathologists from the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said they had found a metal, which they later identified as a bullet, when they conducted the post-mortem after Sharif’s body arrived in his home country. They handed over the bullet to police officers in Pakistan.
Investigators said they believe the bullet is a crucial lead in the ongoing investigations into the murder of Sharif, which has been marred by controversy. It remains unclear whether the team of pathologists that conducted a post-mortem on him had noticed the bullet.
Arshad Sharif arrived in the Kenyan capital on August 20 and died on October 23 in a shootout, in which his driver Khurram Ahmad survived miraculously.
The IPOA provides for civilian oversight over the work of the police in Kenya. It investigates deaths and serious injuries arising from police action and then recommends disciplinary action or prosecution. However, the IPOA has in the past been accused of taking too long in dealing with cases, hence making victims wait for long for justice.