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Police condemn use of children in Langata protest

19 January 2015, 16:51 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - A police officer has been suspended over the chaos that saw teargas fired on school children during a protest over grabbed land in Langata Nairobi.

The officer has been sent on temporary suspension as investigation into why the police officers fired teargas at children at the Langata Road Primary School.

Acting Inspector General of Police Samson Arachi said that the officer who oversaw the operation had been suspended until further notice.

" He has been suspended for now until we get to the bottom of the story," Arachi said Monday amidst heavy social media condemnation over the matter.

" We do not agree with what happened at all. There is no grounds for what happened but we will find out why the officers fired teargas and then deal with it from there, Arachi added.

The IG did however condemn the use of children in protests.

He said that it was irresponsible to have children protest over such tricky matters.

" It was wrong and I would like to urge such protestors not to do that to children. They are vulnerable and to use them to make a point is not something necessary.

" Next time, let us leave children out of this," he added.

Pupils had earlier in the day demonstrated at the school, in protests that turned chaotic after police intervened and fired teargas canisters at the children and other protestors.

It is understood that Police showed no remorse in teargassing school children in Langata, an act they felt was necessary.

Policemen did not hesitate to fire teargas canisters at the children who were protesting the alleged grabbing of a piece land that belongs to the school as a playground.

The protest dubbed #OccupyPlayGround was planned by activist Boniface Mwangi and Kibra MP Ken Okoth to reclaim the playground from the private developer.

The land had already been fenced off by the developer, who had also gated the said piece of land.

Tasked as to why his officers had fired teargas canisters at young children, Langata OCPD Elijah Mwangi said that children of even 8 years of age could be charged for destruction of property.

" The children have engaged in illegal activities and they can be charged for what they did. Even children of 8 years and above can be charged," he retorted.

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