Rights groups call for probe into protestors killings

Written By: Margaret Kalekye/Release
2095

Kisumu protests (Photo/Simon Achola)
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Two human rights groups are calling for a probe into alleged police brutality on opposition protestors.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch claim that police have killed at least 33 people and injured hundreds in Nairobi during demos sparked off by the disputed August 8 presidential poll results.

This is according to a 37-page joint report titled Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections, released on Monday, by the two groups.

“Dozens of people were killed and many more left with life-altering injuries in attacks by the police” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

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She added “The Kenyan authorities should urgently ensure that all those responsible for unlawful use of force are held to account, and that police comply with international law and standards on the use of force during the upcoming repeat election period”.

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National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga who has withdrawn from the October 26 poll has called for daily protests starting Monday until full reforms are undertaken at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The daily protests have elicited mixed reactions with Jubilee accusing the opposition leaders of fueling violence across the country.

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The government maintains it will not allow the protesters to stage demos in the city centres of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

Police killings

The report documents excessive use of force by police, and in some cases other security agents, against protesters and residents in some of Nairobi’s opposition strongholds after the elections.

The rights groups based their findings on interviews with 151 victims, witnesses, human rights activists, aid workers, and police in Nairobi’s low-income areas known to be strongholds of opposition supporters.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights in a similiar report has documented 37 deaths.

The deaths were reported in Mathare, Kibera, Babadogo, Dandora, Korogocho, Kariobangi, and Kawangware which were mapped out as poll violence hotspots.

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“They shot directly at some protesters and also opened fire, apparently randomly, on crowds,” said Otsieno Namwaya, Africa Researcher at Human Rights Watch.

He added “victims and witnesses told researchers that as protestors ran away, police pursued them, kicking down doors and chasing people down alleyways, shooting and beating many to death,”.

In a quick rejoinder, police have disputed a report that says officers killed at least 33 people during post-election protests in various parts of the country.

In a statement, police spokesperson George Kinoti said the claims are misleading and based on falsehoods.

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