In new twist, Kenya police claim they were shot at from Arshad’s vehicle first

Days after the tragic killing of renowned journalist Arshad Sharif, Kenyan police on Wednesday claimed that the fatal shooting that ended the life of Sharif was “instigated” by his companion in the car they were in.

According to a Kenyan media report, Arshad Sharif was aboard a Toyota Land Cruiser V8, registration number KDG 200M, through which the fire from the General Service Unit (GSU) officers penetrated, killing the journalist.

The report stated that the police have now said the occupants of the V8 defied the orders by the officers to stop and instead opened fire at them, injuring one of their colleagues.

The officers had flagged the vehicle to speed down upon reports of it being stolen. This, police said, instigated the officers to equally retaliate with gunshots.

Meanwhile, Kajiado News reported that a team of police officers allegedly involved in the fatal shooting surrendered their weapons as part of investigations into the tragic incident.

Read more: ISI official dropped from team constituted to probe Arshad Sharif's killing

A team investigating the incident wants to also establish if any other shooter was involved in the drama following the shooting and palm injury of one of the GSU officers involved.

The team will also question the owners of Ammodump Kwenia Shooting Range where Sharif had spent the better part of Sunday, October 23.

It is not clear what he was doing there. It has also emerged that his driver at the time of the incident, Khurram Ahmed, is the brother of the owner of the range, Waqar Ahmed.

Khurram called his brother after the shooting and informed him of the incident before he instructed him to take Sharif to Tinga Shopping Centre for first aid.

He is also among ‘persons of interest’ in the probe, police said. One of the officers involved in the shooting, Corporal Kelvin Mutuku, is admitted to the hospital with a bullet injury.

The report added that the corporal of police had damage to the left palm and is said he was shot at before he and his colleagues opened fire at Sharif’s car as it approached a roadblock they had erected. The officers, who are trainers at the local GSU camp, said they were positioned in one area at the time of the incident and it is unlikely the bullet was a result of friendly fire.

He told police the team of four officers drove from their GSU training camp to the site where the shooting happened after they were informed there was a carjacked white Mercedes-Benz that was missing but that had been sighted in the Kiserian area.

They then erected the roadblock using stones, parked their Toyota Landcruiser a few metres away with the lights on and waited for the car to arrive.

The officer said that a caller informed them there was a car racing towards them from Leremit towards Kamukuru direction.

And a few minutes later, the car carrying Sharif and his driver arrived and drove past the roadblock even after seeing the police car’s lights on, he said.

He claimed they tried to stop the car, but were shot at, prompting the fatal shooting. Khurram drove a few kilometres ahead and stopped the car at the entrance of the home of his brother after realising Sharif had died of bleeding.

It was then that police arrived at the scene and interrogated him before moving the body to the mortuary.

The officers searched the car but did not find any weapon or suspicious substance. Police headquarters said the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) had taken over the case.

The IPOA said it had dispatched a team to the area following the alleged “mistaken identity” shooting of Sharif.

The murder

Sharif, who fled the country after he was charged with sedition, died in Kenya's Nairobi after reportedly being shot.

The Kenyan police had said that the journalist was fatally wounded while travelling in a car along with ‘his brother’ Khurram Ahmed in the Magadi area, 40 kilometres from the capital Nairobi.

Kenyan national police spokesman Bruno Shioso said the journalist was shot dead by an officer after his car drove through a police barrier. “It is then that they were shot at, fatally injuring late Arshad Mohammed Sharif,” he said.

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According to a police report seen by AFP, the car carrying the two men was struck by around nine bullets, but continued on to the home of another Pakistani national. There, Sharif was found to be dead “with a gunshot wound on the head which had penetrated from the back”.

The report said that the police at the time had been on the lookout for a stolen car and an abducted person and had set up a makeshift roadblock. Earlier this month, the Kenyan president had vowed to disband a police unit accused of extrajudicial killings.

The 49-year-old journalist fled the country in August to avoid arrest after he was slapped with multiple cases, including sedition charges over an interview with PTI leader Shahbaz Gill during which the latter had made controversial comments.

Alleging threats to his life, Sharif had moved to Dubai in August and later relocated to Kenya.

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