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Police in Embakasi say a man shot on Thursday was a wanted criminal, but residents insist his is yet another victim of extrajudicial killing.

Julius Ochieng, 30, popularly known Fwedege, was gunned down at 1am after a bar owner with whom he had had an altercation called in officers from Embakasi Village police post.

Residents demonstrated on Thursday against the killing.

Police boss Ochieng Mirang’i dismissed their claims, saying the deceased was a robbery with violence suspect who has been on their radar.

Mirang’i said Fwedege was in a group of four gangsters who were planning to rob residents.

“He was a thief. We have been trailing him for a while. When we caught up with him he was with three others who managed to escape,” he said.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority has asked friends and relatives to lodge a complaint.

The authority on Friday said they had heard of the killing but no one had complained.

“IPOA has not received the aforementioned incident as a complaint as yet,” communication officer Dennis Ochieng said.

  He said while the authority picks up and pursues complaints against the conduct of the police from media coverage and other alternative means, it would greatly advance investigations if victims, relatives, friends and witnesses lodged complaints.

This, Dennis said, would facilitate quicker response that would among others help them find crime scenes still fresh and witness accounts detailed.

Residents’ accounts contradicted that of the police. A close friend said Fwedege was a humble guy who minded his own business.

“He was hustling. He woke up every day at 5am to tout for the matatus operating from the area to Taj Mall. He would come back by 11am and start drinking just here in a local club” the friend, who sought anonymity, said.

He said Fwedege would lose control and start abusing those around him when drunk. This landed him in trouble with three officers from the station.

Last year, Fwedege was arrested a number of times and locked up but he did not change his behaviour.

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On Thursday night, Fwedege picked a quarrel with the proprietor of his favourite local pub, which is 200 metres from his home.

“I was with him at that time. He wanted the woman to give him a cigarette, but she told him that she could only give him if he paid first,” said another friend who operates a boda boda.

Angered, Fwedege stormed out and went next door to a food kiosk. He demanded food but the same woman, who also runs the bar, said it was late and there was no food, the friend said.

“From here an argument arose and they started pushing each other. Other revellers intervened and grabbed him tearing his shirt”.

The woman did not take the matter lightly and called in the police.

“When the police arrived they handcuffed him and forced him to kneel. They dragged him out alongside his girlfriend, who is pregnant, and forced Fwedege to lie on his stomach,” said a neighbour, who is a water vendor.

He said the police wanted his girlfriend to equally lie down but they intervened due to her condition.

They later tied Fwedege’s feet and whipped him with a plastic pipe.

Fwedege, who is well known to the officers, pleaded with them to let him go but they ignored him.

One of the officers called Victor dragged Fwedege 200 metres past the gate to his home and cordoned off the area, forcing his friends to retreat. He ordered Fwedege’s girlfriend to walk away.

“When Fwedege tried to get up to talk his girlfriend he was shot in the head. We were standing there trying to plead with Victor,” said one of his friends. 

“He aimed the gun at us and we ran for our lives. Some minutes later we heard another gunshot and another. We knew our friend Ochieng  had been killed.

“We stood on the sides hoping that he would wake up but the area was cordoned off as crime scene until crime scene officers came. They took photos and carried away his body. 

“We don’t know what they have recorded and we fear that if we speak we shall become the target.” 

Attempts to interview the pub owner failed. She said she was too traumatised  to speak.

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