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Lobby group call for prosecution of GSU officers who attacked journalists

20 April 2015, 10:38 Harrison Mbungu

Mombasa - Two journalists who were reportedly assaulted by GSU officers at Bombi Village in Tana River County are recuperating at the Agha Khan hospital in Mombasa as human rights groups call for the prosecution of the officers.

Haki Africa alongside other coastal rights groups have condemned the officers who attacked journalists instead of protecting them and called for legal measures against the involved officers.

“The police have no right to assault journalists who were merely doing their job to cover the story. Kenya is not a police state and even the police must abide by the rule of law. HAKI Africa is demanding for the immediate arrest of all the officers involved pending investigations,” read a statement issued by the human rights groups in Mombasa.

A Citizen TV cameraman, Reuben Mogachi, and Nation Media group’s Nehemiah Okwemba among three other officials from the Tana River County were allegedly assaulted by GSU officers while on an assignment to trace cattle allegedly confiscated by Agriculture Development Cooperation (ADC) in their farm.

However, just as they approached the ranch, armed GSU officers beat them up over allegations of trespassing.

The incident happened at Bombi in the outskirts of the Agricultural Development Cooperation’s (ADC) Kulalu Galana Ranch.

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Adressing the press on his bed at the Agha Khan Hospital in Mombasa, Nehemia has said the officers were tipped of their visit at the farm and brutally beat them up even after presenting themselves as journalist on a mission to gather information on cattle allegedly held in the farm.

“They just approached us as we arrived at the gate and started beating us up, with others shooting in the air even after identifying ourselves as journalists. They beat us up until their senior ordered them to stop,” said Nehemiah.

The two were in the company of three Lamu County officials at the time of the attack.

They are now recuperating at the Agha Khan Hospital in Mombasa with soft tissue injuries, fractured limbs and broken legs.

Medics at the facility said that the two are out of danger and in stable condition but will need several weeks for the broken limbs to heal as well as overcome the trauma.

According to Husein Hassan, the Citizen Tv cameraman was badly injured on his right foot but will get better after medication. He was set to undergo surgery on the broken foot that was hit with a metallic rod.

“He was in bad state when he arrived. His leg was bleeding and swollen,” doctor Hassan told Journalists.

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