Kenya: Police Probe Video of Protesting Students Being Whipped

A Kenyan police officer stops a car outside Garissa University College.
A Kenya police officer stops a car at Garissa University College in Garissa, northeast Kenya, January 11. Kenyan police clashed with protesting students at the University of Nairobi over the weekend. Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

Kenyan police are probing a video that appears to show a line of protesting university students being whipped in Nairobi.

The 30-second clip, posted to social media on Monday, is alleged to have been filmed near or along State House Road, the same road where Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has his private residence, according to Kenya's Standard Digital news site.

It purports to show scores of students, reportedly from the University of Nairobi, being forced to lie on the visibly-wet road and whipped with long sticks by police dressed in army fatigues.

Nairobi police chief Japheth Koome said his department is investigating whether the video is legitimate. "We want to know if indeed the video was shot at the university and then we will launch investigations on how this happened," said Koome, according to Standard Digital. Charles Owino, spokesman for Kenya's National Police Service, also confirmed the police were investigating the validity of the video. Newsweek was not able to independently verify the video.

Violent protests have been ongoing at the University of Nairobi over the weekend after the controversial result of elections for the leader of the university's students organization, known by its acronym SONU. The long-serving SONU chairman, Babu Owino, was re-elected in Friday's vote amid claims from students that the polls had been rigged. More than 30 students were arrested over the weekend as anti-riot police used teargas to quell the protests. Students reportedly burned the SONU offices on Monday as demonstrations against Owino's re-election continued.