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Former soldiers sue the government over torture after 1982 foiled coup

October 17, 2018

By Samuel Ouma

Former Kenya Air Force soldiers display their discharge certificates after a press briefing in Kisumu on June 22, 2017. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former Kenya Air Force soldiers display their discharge certificates after a press briefing in Kisumu on June 22, 2017. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Eighty former Kenya Air Force officers have sued the state for torture meted on them following 1982 attempted coup.

The former servicemen are seeking compensation from the government following the dismissal from the service over suspicion that they participated in the failed putsch.

They claimed they were subjected to brutal torture, cruel and degrading treatment by the army personnel. They were robbed of their property and their wives molested under the tenure of President Daniel Moi.

Some ex-soldiers had previously narrated how they were ordered to raise their hands, put down their firearms, helmets, and belts and board a waiting lorry after they were stripped naked.

“We were illegally detained and moved in Lorries while stark naked in full view of the public,” said one of the soldiers who sought anonymity.

They said they were detained in different police stations and prisons where they were locked up complete naked in dark waterlogged private cells. They added that they were denied food and drinking water, bedding and toilet facility.

“The petitioners demand for a declaration that the brutal arrest, cruel and inhuman treatment inflicted on them upon being taken into custody,” read part of the petition.

The soldiers maintained they were innocent saying they wrongfully arrested, detained and dismissed from the service over alleged revolt they were not aware of. They are demanding payment of their salaries in full as well as their retirement benefits.

Justice Nduma Nderi of Kisumu Industrial court has ordered the Attorney General to file submissions after 14 days of being served by the ex-soldiers while the ex-servicemen are required to file theirs within seven days.

In April this year Nairobi Labour court ordered the government to pay 284 ex-soldiers Ksh.1 million each ($100,000) for their unfair dismissal and the inhuman treatment they underwent in the hands of the Army. Judge Nduma Nderi ruled that the ex-solders be paid their salary arrears from the date of their dismissal to when each one of them was supposed to retire from their service.

“The claimants suffered in the hands of an illegal authority which had no power to retire, dismiss or terminate their services as they had contracted their services with the Kenya Air Force authority and not any other illegal establishment,” Justice Nderi ruled.

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