How Rogue Police Officers in Nairobi Slums Operate
These officers are known to the general public as ‘Hessy’. They act as judge, jury, and executioner. The slum dwellers dread them and revere them in equal measure.
Almost everyone has heard stories about their existence, and according to George Morara, a Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) commissioner, these police operations are a complete breakdown of law and order.
For instance in Mathare slums, suspected criminals’ worst nightmare is Corporal Ahmed Rashid. Rashid runs his team with five other officers and collectively, they are called the Pangani Six.
In a recent interview with British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC), Rashid insisted that there was no compromise when it came to suspects whom they had profiled adding "We have to get them. Dead or alive!"
According to a report by The Star, in Kibera, Blackie is known to most but spoken about only in the shadows of dark houses, in whispers. His real name is not known.
Reports suggest that he is very dark in complexion and loves to put on black T-shirts. That’s where he gets the name ‘Blackie’ from.
The publication adds that he operates with two other officers, one known as Hussein but labelled Bolt because he can run fast, and the other officer is known as Mcoasti since he comes from the Coast.
The three traverse any corner of the vast slum without fear, including Lindi, which residents claim is a den of criminals.
Benteke rules in Makadara area. He is known far and wide in the depths of Majengo, Ofafa Jericho and beyond, but prefers Shauri Moyo. He gets his name from a Belgian footballer famous for scoring head goals.
The residents who know him revealed that Benteke operates by creating fear among the youth, "He walks with two other police officers. He marks his targets, interrogates them on the accusations and digs out information on other suspected criminals," they disclosed.
Furthermore, he is said to parade the suspects across the estate then warns them to leave town and could even give them fare to their villages. According to the residents, "the next time you meet, you don’t need to have committed any crime for him to pump a bullet into your head".
In Kamukunji, Benteke has since been replaced by Mablings, whose name sends chills into some while making others feel secure. Mablings gets his name from his dress code, which is usually accessorized with many silver rings around his fingers and chains on his neck.
Eliud in Dandora, Galgalo in Kariobangi and Blacky in Kayole are said to employ the same modus operandi in their functions.
When asked by the local daily on the accusations against the officers, Police spokesperson Charles Owino stated that the officers should be let alone to do their work.
"If he has been accused, the media can not be the place to defend himself. We have systems,” he remarked.
On the other hand, Nairobi police boss Philip Ndolo stated that his office was not aware of any trigger-happy squads in the city, but any transgressors would face the law.
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