Court rules KWS officers were justified in shooting dead Makueni student

Makindu law courts has thrown out the case involving the murder of Benedict Kyule by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers after four years.

The Senior Principal Magistrate Boniface Nyaga Ireri said that the three KWS officers on duty on 15th February 2019 acted legally by shooting the 17-year-old boy.

Ireri who led the inquest seeking to establish enough evidence to prosecute the three officers went on to note that the boy engaged the officers in a shootout and they were forced to shoot back.

“The report says that the deceased herein died as a result of cardio-respiratory failure. The inquest lined up a total of 11 witnesses. The investigation finds that the deceased died on 15th February 2019. On the same day the three officers were on patrol within Tsavo National Park within the Komboyoo plateau,” said the judge.

“When approaching where wild animals used to frequent for water they heard gunshots and took cover, laid on the ground, and started firing back to safeguard their own lives. My finding is that considering the circumstances under which the incident occurred I do not find any unlawful action by the three KWS officers, it’s unfortunate the deceased caused his misfortunes and death,” he added.

Other key findings by the inquest include;

The student was in the company of other unidentified poachers who might have fled on the fateful day.

Four spent cartridges of a homemade gun were found at the scene. It was however not confirmed if there is a connection between the student and the gun.

Kyule was a frequent visitor to the park and the court questioned what he was doing in the park at the wee hours of 3. am.

The family of Kyule expressed their discontent with the ruling with his father stating that his son didn’t know how to use guns.

The family lawyer promised to appeal the ruling in the high court until they get justice.

Kyule died of excessive bleeding caused by gunshot wounds to the chest. At the time of his death, he was a Form Four candidate at Kiuani Secondary School.

An autopsy conducted on the body showed that the boy was shot at close range.

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