Rangers strip man, burn him with hot panga
09 December 2014, 14:30
Vihiga - A 32-year-old man in Hamisi constituency, Vihiga County, is seeking justice after rangers stripped and burned him with a hot panga for allegedly burning charcoal in Kibiri forest.
Stephen Mudinyu suffered burns on his manhood, buttocks, back and elbow after the torture, beating and molestation by a Kenya Forest Ranger.
Mudinyu said he was kicked and landed on hot charcoal with his left elbow and then the guards pulled him out and further burned him on his lower back with a hot panga.
“I was taken to the forestry offices at Kibiri and then Serem police station before I was arraigned at Hamisi Law Courts the following day. I was charged with being in possession of one sack of charcoal worth KES 800 and I was sentenced to one year probation,” said Mudinyu.
The father of two noted that the two guards who arrested him could not bother to listen to him as they immediately embarked on ‘disciplining’ him, and is now asking for justice.
The incident elicited public outrage with many residents condemning the guards who are said to have been involved in illegal logging in the forest in the past years, and deforesting the region.
“We do not condone forest destruction; neither do we condone acts of disrespect to the rule of law, but why is the forest ranger a free man? Why is the same brutality not being meted on elected leaders who have plundered the forest with impunity?” posed Mwanga Shiribwa, a resident.
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Shiribwa noted that outsiders had been allowed by the guards to harvest trees at the forest at their will for the past few years at the expense of the local community which is tasked with safeguarding it.
“Even the Governor's intervention has fallen on National Government officials’ deaf ears. Has Mudinyu's attacker got away scot free?” Shiribwa posed.
Various officers who visited Mudinyu said that the attack was uncalled for as the ranger had an option of arresting and arraigning him in court.
“Torture of any kind is not allowed in this period of time. One is innocent until proven guilty by the Law Courts. We are going to take up the matter so that the ranger accounts for this cruelty,” Nixon Amendi, a County cabinet minister said.
He said police should take up the case and carry out fresh investigations so that the officer can explain why he had to burn the arrested man.
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