Primary school pupils teargassed at Nyalenda slums. PHOTO | FILE

Just some hours after the acting Interior security CS Fred Matiang and Inspector of Police Joseph Boinnet issued a statement rubbishing the claims of police brutality, the same police officers have teargassed a nursery school in Nyalenda.

The anti-riot police forced their way into the school, the watchman locked the gate and they threw teargas canisters into the school compound. The police have refused to take full responsibility for the scene in Nyalenda.

Locals are not happy with that response. They support school leaders’ claim that police attacked children.

Three children sustained injuries as they stormed out of their classes. The attack on St Peter’s Awich Kodingo ECDE was reminiscent of the tear-gassing of pupils at Lang’ata Road Primary School in Nairobi as they protested against land grabbing in 2015.
A video of the Nyalenda attack trended in social media for the better part of Monday night and early Tuesday morning, with Kenyans demanding accountability.

“They attacked us without any due regard for the children aged between 3-7 years and staffers. It took the intervention of teachers and good Samaritans to evacuate and aid the little ones to safety,” school’s founder Beatrice Schnelli-Okello said.

Kisumu City Residents Voice Chairman Audi Ogada condemned the attack, saying the officers attacked unarmed and innocent pupils.

“The police must take responsibility for the incident because there is enough evidence,” he said.

“There is no way senior officers can claim officers were not deployed in Nyalenda slums,” he added as he called for the transfer of Mr. Yoma over “deteriorating” security situation in Kisumu.

“The anti-riot police were outside the gate demanding the children to be released from classes. They suddenly lobbed tear gas into the school compound that exploded right at the entrance of one of the classes, chocking pupils,” she said.

According to the teacher, six police officers forced their way into the school compound.

“We had to break the gate to secure the release of the children from jaws of police brutality.”

She said she had to hide in the administration block for two hours as the six police officers pursued her after realizing she was recording a video.

But police are denying attacking the minors. Kisumu County police boss Titus Yoma said no anti-riot police were deployed to the area.

"The police look like they had a special instruction of destroying the NASA strongholds and brutalize them. We are pursuing several cases of brutality in Nyanza region and Nairobi," said Makueni senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr.

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