ARTICLE 19 is gravely concerned at reports that two journalists were assaulted by General Service Unit (GSU) officers at Bombi, Galana Ranch in Tana River County on 18th April, 2015.
Nation Media Group’s Nehemia Okwemba and Citizen TV’s Reuben Ogachi were attacked as they were investigating a complaint by local pastoralists regarding the confiscation of over 200 heads of cattle by said GSU officers. The Officers allegedly confiscated the cattle for trespassing/grazing inside the expansive Galana ADC Ranch. The pastoralists had claimed that the GSU officers demanded 500 shillings per head for cattle to secure their release of the livestock.
“ARTICLE 19 categorically states that the brutal attack was senseless. We believe that there is simply no justification for the violence carried out against these journalists by the GSU policemen,” said Henry Maina, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Regional Director.
The journalists also reported that apart from being assaulted, their cameras were destroyed by the officers. As a result of the armed assault, the journalist and their entourage sustained serious injuries including multiple fractures. They claimed that the officers even threatened to kill them despite the fact that the journalists had identification tags.
Article 19 calls upon the Inspector General of Police to ensure speedy investigations and prosecution of the GSU officers who unlawfully assaulted the journalists. The state must assure the members of the fourth estate their constitutionally mandated safety and space to keep Kenyans informed.
In the light of this incident, the government must make a public guarantee to ensure media safety and freedom to report. It must order government officials, especially the security officials to refrain from harassing, attacking or arresting journalists.
For more information:
For more media interviews please contact: Henry Maina, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa; Email: [email protected] or call +254 +254 727 862230