A group of Kenyan Muslims want the US embassy to release CCTV footage that may have captured the shooting of a man who allegedly stabbed a Kenyan law enforcement officer outside the embassy in Nairobi last week.
The Kenya Muslim Caucus says it is concerned about the circumstances that led to the fatal shooting of the man by a General Service Unit (GSU) officer guarding the embassy.
“We have compelling reasons to question the claim that Abdimahat Ibrahim Hassan was shot dead after he stabbed the GSU officer and sought to snatch his weapon so as to attack the embassy,” the Islamic body stated.
Issa Ahmed Issa, the chairman of the group, said that although the man was quickly labeled a member of Al-Shabaab or the Islamic State (ISIS), there was more than what met the eye.
“Consideration of available information, including statements from family members and photographs from the scene, strongly suggest that [Mr. Hassan] may have in fact been a victim of a trigger-happy GSU officer,” he said.
He said the incident must have been captured by CCTV cameras in the highly guarded vicinity, and that by making it public, family members, Kenyan’s and other interested parties will be able to establish the truth of the matter.
He said that without viewing the CCTV footage it would be difficult not to conclude that there is a possible cover-up in the killing of Mr. Hassan.
“We also call on Kenyan and US authorities to expedite independent investigations into the matter and release findings as soon as possible,” he said.
The shooting happened on Thursday last week and the National Police Service claimed the man had stabbed the officer who stopped him as he tried to force his way into the embassy. The police also claimed that he had tried to snatch the gun from the officer.
Detectives from US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Nairobi and officers from elite police squads in the capital arrived at the scene immediately after the shooting and started their investigations into the shooting.
Kenyans familiar with the deceased have lamented on social media that Mr. Hassan was just a victim of extrajudicial execution and that he had only gone to the embassy to renew his visa.
“If he indeed stabbed the officer on the head and on his right arm, then why was the kitchen knife that was next to his body not blood-stained?” activist Abdimajid Mohamed posed.
Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi is among people who have urged police and other agencies to speed up investigations into the killing.
He said investigations would establish whether indeed Mr. Hassan, who he said should have been disarmed and arrested but not shot, was a member of ISIS.
The Muslim group also urged police to probe reports that three girls being held at a Mombasa police station were facing physical and psychological abuse at the hands of the police.
The three have been accused of not providing information to police that would have prevented a shooting incident at the police station earlier this year.
Mr. Issa said one of the girls has asthma and that her inhaler had been confiscated, putting her life in danger. He said the matter had been reported to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority for appropriate action.
“We condemn all acts of terrorism in the country carried out by terrorist groups. But we also call on the government to avoid extrajudicial measures in responding to terrorism as that undermines efforts to combat the menace,” he said.