In Summary
  • Mr Gwengi was arrested while in the company of activist Rodgers Ochieng’ and other locals.
  • The officers are believed to be on a revenge mission by arresting the youths, including the journalist.
  • Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda condemned the incident and has vowed to ensure that the journalist and the activist are released

Tension is high in Usenge town, Siaya County, after police arrested and locked up Bondo-based Standard Media Group journalist Isaiah Gwengi on Wednesday evening.

Officers from the Quick Response Team seized Mr Gwengi while in the company of activist Rodgers Ochieng’ and other locals.

The scribe was targeted for investigating the use of excessive force by the officers who have been on rampage since Tuesday evening.

The Nation established that Mr Gwengi’s arrest was related to a story he was following after residents accused the officers of harassment.

The two were reportedly beaten up by police and Mr Gwengi suffered head, neck, hand and waist injuries.

“They took off my shoes and said they were stinking that they cannot be kept in the police vehicle,” said Mr Gwengi.

STRIPPED

The officers also took his phone by force and removed his two SIM cards.

He added: “I was stripped naked and the officers demanded to check if I was circumcised.”

Trouble started when two traders were arrested on Tuesday and, since then, the town has been under curfew from 6pm.

The residents were threatening to hold a demonstration to condemn police brutality and to demand the release of the traders.

Mr Gwengi, who was in the process of interviewing the human rights activist, was then arrested alongside Mr Ochieng and bundled into a police van.

BLEEDING

The two were taken to Got Agulu Hospital after the area OCS refused to book them because they were bleeding profusely.

They were attended to at the hospital before being taken back to the cells at Usenge Police Station where they spent the night.

Standard Group Nyanza Bureau Chief John Oywa on Thursday said the journalist had been writing stories on police brutality, extortion and illegal charcoal business in the area, a matter that has put him on the war path with the authorities for a while now.

He expressed shock at the torture meted on his staff and demanded explanation from the police headquarters on the unfortunate incident.

Page 1 of 2