Terrifying Moment as Police Teargas Explodes, Consuming Property Worth Thousands In A Local Pub.


About ten residents of Munyu Trading Centre in Gatuanyaga Division, Thika East, have their gods to thank for escaping death by a whisker after police officers believed to be from Ngoliba Police HQs lobbed a teargas canister into the room they were holed up, eventually causing a fire that destroyed the whole property and causing one minor injury.

The officers are said to be confronting revelers suspected who were enjoying alcohol after the stipulated time (Mututho hours). It is alleged that these merrymakers locked themselves inside the pub when they got wind that police in patrol were arresting those who were taking liquor past ‘Mututho’ hours. When police efforts to persuaded the bar attendant to open the door failed, one of them who is well known to them broke one of the window panes of the inner room and lobbed the teargas canister.

Martha Wanjiku, the pub owner admits to have gone past the Mututho time after a friend requested her to allow his guests who had visited him for a family ‘get-together’ enjoy a few drinks. Hardly, had her the guests settled than the police pounced and demanded them to open the door.

“When we refused to open the door, one of them broke the window and threw something into my bedroom. The door to my room was locked to prevent my customers from gaining entry from the bar,” said Wanjiku.

Wanjiku claims that after a while, the police shouted to them, “Fungueni kunachomeka!”

“At first we ignored them as we thought that it was a ploy to make us get out into their trap. It was not until we saw flames peeping from the roof and the bedroom door that we realised the danger that we were in. we sought for the keys to the main door but in vain. We were forced to break loose,” she explained.

She said that one of the police officers involved was attached to Ngoliba Police Station and had been recently transferred from the local police post, which is just about 100m from the scene.

“One them, Patrick or ‘Mturkana’, is known to us and has been here for quite a long time. He was in the company of other who included one who seemed to be in the rank of a corporal.

Paul Njau aka ‘Nyarus’, one of the people who were in the pub by the time of the incident, said that they failed to open the door for the police were said to be arresting people haphazardly and demanding for bribes to buy their freedom. He claims that when they moved out the room, the police pounced on them and directed them to their land cruiser that had the label of OCPD Thika East.

He claims that he found several youth in the van who had been arrested from a different pub. They were later released after the bar owner parted with sh. 5,000.

He suspects that the bed may have been the first to catch fire before it spread to the other rooms.
In their possession was the cartilage they claim was the remains of the teargas canister thrown by these police.

“Immediately the people put off the fire, the police tried to access the bedroom to look for this cartilage but we hid it from them as it is the only evidence we have for what they did,” said one man who did not want to be identified.

A man named Ngaruiya is said to have fainted and suffer slight burns on the head. It is also alleged that another bar in Githima Trading Centre, about 1km away, was also broken into and alcohol and money stolen, just at the same time with this incident.

Police in the nearby post confirmed the incident but denied knowledge of any involvement of their colleagues. They told us that they were still investigating to ascertain the real course of the fire. OCS Ngoliba had earlier visited the scene and interrogated a few residents before leaving.
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