Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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The demonstrators as they moved within Rafiki trading center led by their councilor John Khisa
Protests erupted throughout Matisi location of Trans Nzoia West district Friday, over what the residents alleged to be police misconduct.
The peaceful protests from residents of Rafiki sub location led by area councilor John Khisa, said that police officers from Kitale station have in the last one month collaborated with community policing people to arrest youth indiscriminately without clear reasons.
They said that the situation started after residents responded to a distress call from one of them one night after people who claimed to be police officers entered the area and begun harassing people leading to an angry mob burning the private vehicle the civilian officers had used for patrol.
The area was said to have been hit by a series of attacks from gangsters previously and thus, the residents thought the officers who were not in uniform and not using police vehicle were one of the gangs hence they raised alarm that saw the three officers who were also not armed to flee leaving the vehicle behind to meet the wrath of the angry mob.
"The incident of burning the vehicle said to have been for the officers was a mob action and hence police should not use that excuse to arrest youth continuously yet they were not uniformed, not in a government patrol vehicle and not even armed and could not show any identity to proof that they were officers on patrol that night," said one of the demonstrators.
They have appealed to senior police officers in the region to intervene the matter so that the rising tension and animosity between the officers and the residents is controlled.
Scores of youth are said to have been arrested and held at the police station without being tried as they are accused of malicious damages.
At the same time they demanded for the release of the youth whom they said were innocent and also called on police to be in official uniform and use police vehicles to do patrols in the area for easy identification and distinguishing between the officers and the criminals who unleash terror in the area.
They also demanded for the patrols to be done during daytime to reduce the confusion that the residents encounter not knowing who are a genuine police officer and a criminal.
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