By Caroline Mwaura
On December 21, 2018, Carilton Maina was trying to get back home after watching a football match. He Loved football; he was an Arsenal fan.
But the 23-year-old would never get home that night — Because, as he and his friends walked through the narrow dusty footpaths in Laini Saba, Kibera, a police officer shot and killed him.
Eyewitnesses had then claimed that the officer who killed the former UK’s Leeds University student followed him to an alley after shooting him on his left ankle.
He then cornered the unarmed young man between two stalls and shot him on his stomach and chest.
Carilton pleaded for his life. He allegedly identified himself, but the officer could hear none of it.
Emmanuel Ambunya-the officer who the Director of Criminal Investigations believes ended Carilton’s promising future- was arraigned on Thursday, April 16, 2020, at Milimani High court to face trial.
Ambunya who is currently attached to Kenyatta National Hospital, however, was not required to plead to the murder charges when he appeared before Justice Ngenye Macharia.
Instead, the judge ordered police to present Ambunya in court on April 23 when further directions will be issued. In the meantime, he will be held at Kilimani Police station.
Constable Ambunya will undergo a mental evaluation assessment which is a mandatory requirement for all murder suspects before taking a plea.
In a statement, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) said his arrest and arraignment was as a result of their investigations and which the DPP has concurred with.
“This is a case in which police officers allegedly intercepted Mr Carilton David Maina and five friends who had just watched a late-night football match on 22nd December 2018 in Kibra, Nairobi County with an intention to arrest them. In the confrontation, Mr Maina was allegedly shot and killed,” IPOA said in a statement.
The Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI) had earlier recommended for an inquest to establish the circumstances that led to the shooting and also find out if there was anyone responsible.
But IPOA said the DPP agreed with their findings – that there is enough evidence to sustain a charge of murder against constable Ambunya.
In court earlier, Ambunya had made an application seeking to be set free on bail. He told the court that his young family would suffer a lot if he is incarcerated. But the application was vehemently opposed by the prosecution.
Missing Voices has termed the officer’s arrest as a “big milestone in the fight against extrajudicial killings and police abuse of power.”
“We want to commend the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) for investigating the case and Missing Voices Partners and the Police Reforms Working Group for tirelessly following up this case,” reads a statement sent to newsrooms.
Further, Missing Voices said they were encouraged by the public statement released by Directorate of Criminals Investigations (DCI) on Twitter announcing the arrest of the police officer on Wednesday.
“Despite the 16 months that the case has taken before being taken to court, we are happy that the process of seeking justice for Carilton has started.”
The group said it was also cognizant of the fact that police have killed many innocent Kenyans and that justice, is yet to be served.
Last year, Missing Voices reported the killings of 107 civilians by police officers.
Of those killed, only 10 of the cases ended up with the officers being arrested. This year, 49 deaths have been recorded by Missing Voices, 11 of them, having been killed by officers enforcing the COVID-19 curfew.
In January this year, 17-year-old Stephen Machurusi was shot dead in Mwiki during a protest. Another teenager, 19-year-old Hemedi Majini was killed in Majengo area.
Three more people who were protesting the killings in Majengo were shot dead by police who were dispersing mourners at his funeral. A child who was also hit by a stray bullet lost eyesight.
Similarly, Amnesty International Kenya welcomed the arrest of constable Ambunya.
Amnesty said officers who violate others and abuse their oath of service, must be held to account.
“Amnesty calls upon the Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA), the Internal Affairs Unit of the National Police Service (IAU), the DCI and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) to continue thoroughly investigating and prosecuting cases of extrajudicial.”