New police uniform unveiled by President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 13, 2018. / COURTESY

Kenya:Disturbing Trends in extrajudicial killings

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

New police uniform unveiled by President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 13, 2018. / COURTESY
New police uniform unveiled by President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 13, 2018. / COURTESY

The rising trend in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances has exposed Kenya as a country which violates human rights to international communities.

In February 2017, Amnesty International ranked Kenya as the leading country in cases of police shootings and killings of civilians ahead of Zambia, Togo, Burundi, Botswana, Chad, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Mauritania, Somalia, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Cameroon and Southern Sudan.

The report showed that out of 177 cases reported in Africa in 2016, 122 occurred in the East African Country. It further revealed that the majority of cases happen in Nairobi, particularly in the informal settlements and coastal region.

“Security forces carried out enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture with impunity,” read the report.

With the establishment of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), to prevent impunity in the National Police Service, much has not been done amid the escalation of extrajudicial execution by the security officers.

Despite the reforms in the security sector human rights violations by security agencies remain prevalent. Their main targets are males aged 18-24. In many cases they claim the victims were robbers unwilling to surrender which contradict witnesses information. Police reports often indicate that the victims are thieves caught with weapons including homemade guns and ammunition or deadly weapons.

For example, In December 2018, police shot Carilton Maina, 22-year-old Leeds University Engineer student in Kibera slum, Nairobi on the ground that he was a gangster. However, witnesses revealed Carliton was on his way home after watching a football match. They rebuffed claims by the police that he was a thug.

They revealed a police officer first shot his left ankle, cornered him while he was crawling towards the direction of his mother’s house and shot him on stomach, chest and face even after he surrendered.

“There was no way he was a criminal. Why would he steal?” said the deceased friend.

Many victims of such vices are yet to get justice due to lack of goodwill, victimization of both witnesses and victims and shoddy investigations according to human rights groups.

In 2018 Kenya National Police was linked to 267 mysterious deaths as reported by the Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU), an agency which investigates police brutality. The report further shows that 308, 418, 77 and 122 deaths were reported in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. Many are feared to have died in 2017 during protests against elections malpractices.

 

 

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