Journalist assaulted and equipment vandalized by GSU officers in Voi

The NTV journalists laptop that had been vandalized by GSU officers in Voi. PHOTO: FATUMA RASHID.

Taita Taveta, KENYA: Voi-based journalists were on Thursday forced to scamper for safety after the red beret GSU officers turned on them when they were covering a demo staged by boda boda operators in the area.

The boda boda operators were demonstrating due to lack of security in the town, as one of the operators was kidnapped and killed by unknown assailants last week.

The GSU officers harassed NTV journalist Bill Otieno who was shooting the demonstrations. They beat him and bundled him up into their lorry en-route to Nairobi and let him off at Canaan area, along Voi-Nairobi highway;’ thanks to his fellow scribes who took a vehicle to follow the lorry.

In an interview with Baraka FM, Otieno says the officers destroyed his laptop, camera and the memory card other than inflicting injuries to him using their clubs.

“They followed me while I was shooting and bundled me into their lorry. In the lorry they were stepping on me with their boots. They also took my camera destroyed the memory card and the camera itself now it’s not functioning well. It was a horrible ordeal,” said Otieno.

His colleagues have condemned the act saying such violence acts committed against journalists shouldn’t be happening at this age.

‘‘It is sad to see that security officers are harassing journalists who were doing their work without crossing their line. This should not be happening at this age,’’ lamented one of the journalists.

Cases of journalists in Voi being attacked are not strange, as last year a section of nurses who were demonstrating also attacked journalists for unknown reasons.