Kenyan police killed three people on Thursday when they fired on a crowd of motorcycle taxi drivers protesting the arrest of a colleague for flouting coronavirus restrictions.
Police shot at the crowd in the western city of Lessos after clashes, a police statement said.
“I have ordered the arrest of the officers involved in the shooting and we regret the loss of these lives,” police inspector general Hillary Mutyambai said.
The first shots fired killed a 40-year-old man after motorcycle taxi drivers “attacked” one of the officers, according to a police statement.
Two more people were shot dead after the crowd followed the officers back to their police station, it said.
“A thorough investigation will be carried out and action will be taken. They must face the law,” said Mutyambai.
The case, which has been referred to the country’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), comes as Kenyan police face increasing scrutiny over alleged excessive force and unlawful killings, especially in poor neighbourhoods.
A Kenyan police officer was charged on Tuesday for the murder of a 13-year-old child, who was killed in a Nairobi slum in late March while law enforcement agencies were enforcing a curfew to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
His death illustrates the chaotic and sometimes violent enforcement of a night-time curfew by Kenyan police, who have been accused of murdering more than a dozen others since the coronavirus lockdown began in late March.
In April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Kenyan police of imposing curfews “in a chaotic and violent manner, from the beginning”, sometimes whipping, beating, or using tear gas to force people off the streets.