KARACHI: Kenyan journalists have raised questions about the killing of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif and brought new details to light.
In a news story published by Nation Media Group, a senior investigative reporter said the occupant in Mr Sharif’s car shot at GSU officers, according to police claims.
“The Nation, in an attempt to reconstruct the events leading to Sharif’s shooting, has established that the journalist and Mr Kurram Ahmed spent Sunday afternoon at Ammodump@Kwenia, an entertainment complex that also has a shooting range, and which is popular among Pakistani gun enthusiasts. It is located on a feeder road in Kamukuru, which is 85 kilometres south of Nairobi. Mr Ahmed is from a family that was hosting Sharif in Westlands, Nairobi, and it appears that he has been in Kenya for a while, because he has a Kenya Revenue Authority Pin number for taxpayers. The Toyota Land Cruiser that the two were using that day is registered to Mr Ahmed,” the report read.
It added: “It is believed that the two men left Kwenia for Nairobi at about 8pm. When they got to the main road, they were stopped by GSU officers who, according to the police, were responding to reports that a stolen vehicle had been sighted in the area.”
The report noted contradictory versions of police that earlier claimed Mr Sharif and his brother defied orders at a checkpoint but later alleged Mr Sharif’s brother “shot at” one officer and injured him. It quoted police as saying that the incident prompted police to shoot back. “He was challenged to stop but he defied and opened fire at our officers, which triggered them to respond to the said vehicle as it sped towards the Nairobi direction,” the report said, quoting an unknown police official.
The publication also raised the question of why the police, who had their own vehicle at the roadblock, did not chase the Toyota Land Cruiser after its occupants allegedly shot at them.
On Twitter, Kenyan investigative journalist Brian Obuya said the fatal shot that killed Mr Sharif was “fired with precision through the rear mirror of the car”.
He said the vehicle Mr Sharif was travelling in was shot at nine times in total, with four bullets fired to the left and one deflating the right side tyre. Obuya also earlier said the body of the slain journalist was found at Kenya’s Chiromo Mortuary, which was 78km from where the police say the shooting happened.
Former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko, however, defended Kenyan police, saying they should not be blamed for Mr Sharif’s death. He claimed the police were ‘tricked’ into shooting the Pakistani national thinking he was involved in vehicle theft. He believed Mr Sharif was trailed by a “Pakistani killer squad” due to an investigation he was doing into a money laundering syndicate involving Pakistani politicians.
Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2022