Pakistani anchor Arshad Sharif was shot dead by Kenyan police in what they have described as a case of “mistaken identity,” according to reports from Kenyan media.
The Star, a Kenyan daily, reported that Sharif had been shot in the head and killed by police after he and his driver allegedly fled from a roadblock set up to check motor vehicles along the Nairobi-Magadi highway. It claimed that the pair was driving from Magadi to Nairobi when they were flagged down at the roadblock and asked to identify themselves.
The report alleges that rather than stopping, the vehicle sped up and tried to drive past the roadblock. It claimed that Sharif’s vehicle matched the description of a car that had taken a child hostage in Nairobi—even though the car was traveling in the opposite direction—and the driver’s response prompted a brief car chase that ended with police opening fire on the vehicle. The police response, per the report, led to Sharif’s killing and his driver being injured.
According to The Star, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority would take over the case and a comprehensive statement would be issued later. “We had an incident of shooting which turned out to be a case of mistaken identity involving a journalist. We will release more information later,” it quoted a senior police officer as saying.
Later, a Kenyan journalist said Sharif’s body had been found—but 78km away from where police say his shooting occurred. Confirming that Pakistan Embassy officials were on site, he said an investigation was underway.
The killing of Sharif, most recently affiliated with ARY News, was confirmed by his wife, Javeria Siddique, in a posting on Twitter early on Monday. Pakistan’s Foreign Office and the Interior Ministry have already confirmed that the Pakistan High Commission in Kenya is gathering information from local authorities to determine the facts behind Sharif’s shooting.
His shooting has prompted an outpouring of condolences from across the political divide, with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif saying he was “deeply saddened” by the “shocking” news and President Arif Alvi describing the killing as a “great loss” to journalism.