Police Open Fire Killing Student During Protests Over Power Blackouts

Police Vehicle
An image of a police vehicle spotted in Nairobi

A form three student was on Sunday, June 4, shot dead during protests over prolonged blackouts in Wajir Town.

A report by the police indicated that the victim was shot dead near the power offices where the protest was taking place.

According to the police, protesters were violent and vandalised property, prompting anti-riot officers to intervene and control the situation.

“They broke glasses, vandalised offices before anti-riot police intervened and dispersed them leading to running battles," the police report read in part.

Photo of Power transformer.
Photo of Power transformer.
Kenya power

Residents and business operators had staged a protest in the town, to demand action from the authorities over power blackouts that were affecting their businesses and lives.

Wajir West MP Yusuf Farah blamed the police for using excessive force on protestors, which led to the death of the student.

Farah also demanded action from the state over persistent blackouts in Wajir that affected businesses and other daily activities.

“The people of Wajir have every right to peacefully protest about the lengthy power blackouts. I am with the people on this. We’ve been told lies for too long,” Muliro stated.

He added that they had informed the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to investigate the shooting and take necessary action.

His Wajir South counterpart Mohamed Adow also condemned the killing, calling for thorough investigations into the incident and ensuring that the family gets justice.

The student was among angry residents who blocked the main road in the town, lighting bonfires that paralysed activities in the town for over two hours. 

Abdi Mohamed, a businessman in Wajir revealed that the residents were demanding answers from the power agency on why there was no reliable supply of power in the area yet the residents pay taxes like other Kenyans.

“Electricity supply to this area is very unreliable because it only lasts for a short period. Also, there is rationing with no explanation,” stated Abdi Mohamed.

The incident occurred after the residents claimed they had raised the matter with the power distributor for more than a month yet no action was taken. 

Police, on the other hand, called for tolerance and patience from the residents while promising to investigate the matter and ensure justice for the family of the victim. 

A photo collage of damaged electricity polls at Ruiru along Thika Road on April 25, 2023.
A photo collage of damaged electricity polls at Ruiru along Thika Road on April 25, 2023.
Gideon Maina
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