Kenya Police under fire again after locking up 5 children

One who was only 4 years old spent more than 18 hours in a police cell.

The children who are aged four, five, eight and ten spent the night in a cold cell and had no food.

Their only reported crime was taking away a sack of old tin cans and metal bars from a construction site.

Two of the children's parents were also remanded for alleged parental negligence.

The children and parents were released and all their charges dropped but questions have arisen over the irresponsibility of the decision to lock up children.

The law states that children aren't criminally liable.

Section 14(i) of the Penal Code states: "A person under the age of eight years is not criminally responsible for any act or ommission."

Police and the parents say that the children were accused by Mr Isaac Kihagi of stealing from him. Kihagi is a private school proprietor.

He drove them to Narumoru Police Station at around 7pm.

The children's mother, Ms Rose Wangari had gone to run errands in Narumoru town, leaving her four year old son playing with a neighbour's children.

When she went back home in the evening, she couldn't find her children and the parents went searching for them.

After failing to find them, they decided to go to the police but they had met Kihagi beforehand who informed them that he had taken the children to the police station for stealing from him.

Police then arrested Ms Jaqueline Wairimu who was guardian of the four children when she arrived at the station for "neglecting" the children.

Mr Robert Kariuki, father of the one of the arrested minors, asked to change places with his son.

"Instead, the police beat him up and threw him into the cell," Ms Wangari recounted to The Nation.

Mr Kariuki was put in the male cell while the children and Ms Wairimu were locked up in the women's cell. They also booked Mr Kariuki for causing a disturbance in a police station.

The parents were thrown out at midnight after endlessly pleading with the police to let them feed the children.

The police also tossed out a shawl that had been brought to help keep the children warm.

Kieni East OCPD Michael Mbaluku admitted the children didn't eat all night explaining that by the time the children were booked, food had already been served.

He defended the action to detain the children saying, "The children were not booked for the offence of stealing. They were held as special needs because we arrested the parents for negligence."

But when released, the OCPD said they dropped the criminal charges against the chldren.

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