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US Government Threatens to Review Aid to Police Force, Flew in FBI Agents to Pursue Lawyers Murder

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Slain lawyer Willie Kimani

Slain lawyer Willie Kimani

On the 23rd of June, Human Rights advocate Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwendwa and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri disappeared after Kimani and Mwendwa had attended court in Mavoko over police brutality on Mwendwa, who had been shot by police earlier. Having received many threats on his life, Kimani braved to assist his client in the case.

The last that it was heard, Kimani had dropped a ‘we’re in danger’ note to be delivered to his wife, whose number he had written on the note. A boda boda operator allegedly picked the note near Syokimau police container and reached the wife via phone. The boda boda operator and the note remains the only relevant links to the story

Immediately the news hit the airwaves, and pressure started pilling coming from both the civil society and lawyers’ association in which Kimani was a member, the Flying Squad, which is widely suspected of engaging in extrajudicial killings, in the past took up the case. This move doesn’t seem to have gone well with the US envoy.

FBI Agents

FBI Agents

The Flying Squad has been checking phone records and looking at footage from roadside surveillance cameras to identify where the three might have been taken. Human rights activists predicted that several officers, including the one connected to the first shooting, would soon be arrested.

The International Justice Mission, the American legal aid group that employed Mr Kimani and had been representing Mr Mwenda in his court cases, is a well-connected Christian organisation. Within hours of the three men vanishing, the American Embassy in Nairobi received several messages from Washington asking diplomats to look into the case.

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US envoy, Godec unitedly with other foreign diplomats in Kenya piled pressure on the state to speed up investigations and that no loophole should be left untouched. In the meantime, FBI agents stationed in Kenya had hit the ground running and led the investigations and search for the missing three persons. An extra troop of detectives were sent from Washington to join their colleagues.

DCI Muhoro when he appeared before the court on Tuesday

DCI Muhoro when he appeared before the court on Tuesday

The US government funds the police in millions of dollars of security assistance to Kenya each year, including training and equipment to police officers.

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One American official, talking to New York Times, said the Kenyan police clearly still had problems and that continued cooperation would be influenced by how much improvement the Kenyans make.

An estimated sixty people were killed by the police in the month of June alone, with the numbers going up instead of reducing, according to several NGO reports. UN has also added their voice to the worrying rate of extra-judicial killings in the country. They’ve called upon the government to ensure perpetrators are brought to book.

Noticeably, the West hasn’t been as vocal on extrajudicial killings until the latest event. According to sleuths in Statehouse speaking to Kenya Insights, the pressure is like never before. White House is stopping at nothing and committed to seeing those involved brought to books.

The suspected officers; Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Chebulet, Leonard Maina Mwangi and Silvia Wanjiku appeared at the Milimani Law courts on Monday

The suspected officers; Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Chebulet, Leonard Maina Mwangi and Silvia Wanjiku appeared at the Milimani Law courts on Monday

As a consequence, the Director of Criminal Investigations amongst other senior officers were forced to appear before a Nairobi court to give sureties that other extra-judicial killers will be arrested. Many contributors have pointed fingers at Muhoro’s department as being responsible for such killings. The Law Society is calling for his resignation together with the Police Inspector General Joseph Boinnet.

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The US government and Western community are so determined to pursue the course. FBI agents are leading the investigations and a comprehensive report tying Mavoko three killers and the killer unit expected to be available in a fortnight.

A fourth suspect, an AP was arrested on Monday now making the number of officers arrested to be four. Prosecution applied for the speedy start to the case of the murdered and appointed four prosecutors to guide investigations.

One wonders if the outstanding efforts to unravel the murderers of the three would have happened without Western intervention and more specifically the US. Ironically, when the DCI Muhoro appeared before the court on Tuesday to answer on the extra-judicial killings, he was with a purple ribbon. The ribbon is tagged on activists and lawyers to signify their support for the unlawful killings by the police.

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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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