IPOA seeks witnesses to aid investigations into Rex Masai's fatal shooting

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Masai, 29, died on Thursday evening from injuries sustained from a live bullet allegedly fired by police in Nairobi's Central Business District (CBD).

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has called on Kenyans who witnessed the fatal shooting of protester Rex Kanyeki Masai on June 20, 2024, to come forward with information that will assist it in investigations that are currently underway.

In a post on Monday, the IPOA noted that the information will not only help to bring closure to the family and friends but also contribute to police accountability.

“IPOA appeals for witness accounts from anyone who may have witnessed the fatal shooting of Mr Rex Masai on June 20, 2024, to volunteer information to advance its investigations. To offer information, you can call toll-free through 1559 (free of charge) or 0204906000,” the authority said.

Masai, 29, died on Thursday evening from injuries sustained from a live bullet allegedly fired by police in Nairobi's Central Business District (CBD).

Masai was participating in anti-tax demonstrations that took place in over 18 counties, including Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret, Nakuru, Kericho, Lodwar, Kilifi, Nyeri, Meru, Embu, Nanyuki, Kisii, Kakamega, Machakos, Taita Taveta, and Kiambu.

According to Masai’s mother, Gillian Munyao, her son was shot around 7 pm near the National Archives while trying to escape from a tear gas canister fired at a crowd. Owing to the choking fumes, Masai and his friend decided to run.

However, police chased after them and opened fire, leading to his death.

Rex Kanyike Masai, who was killed during last week's protests against the Finance Bill, 2024. Photo: X/BonifaceMwangi

“One of the police shot him in the left thigh, and his friend tried to take him to the nearest hospital, Bliss, but unfortunately he died before reaching there,” she said.

A pathologist's report confirmed that Masai died from excessive bleeding after being shot in the thigh.

While expressing her anguish, Munyao condemned police officers who fired live bullets at peaceful protesters and killed innocent people. She reminded the officers that their actions would eventually haunt them.

“The policeman should remember that the same pain I go through as a parent is the same pain they will go through when they lose their loved ones. So let the police be humane during the protests. I am a woman who believes in God, and I don't want to take revenge. But let my God avenge me. I have left everything in God's hands,” she lamented.

Kenyans on Friday paid tribute to Masai at the Dedan Kimathi monument at the junction of Kimathi and Mama Ngina streets, reportedly close to where he died.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) directed the IPOA to probe the matter and forward an inquiry report before the lapse of 21 days.

"Consequently, pursuant to the provisions of Article 157(4) of the Constitution, the Director of Public Prosecutions has directed the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to carry out thorough and comprehensive investigations into the matter," ODPP said.

“Thereafter, the resultant inquiry file together with the report should be forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) not later than twenty-one (21) days from the date hereof.”

Anti-Finance Bill protestors in Nairobi CBD on June 18, 2024. (Photo: Hafsa Hassan/EV)

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