By Abdi Ali
Published November 25, 2017
Kenya must end unlawful killing of people by police.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) calls upon “President [Uhuru] Kenyatta and other government officials” to “condemn ongoing killing” of people in Kenya and “ensure there are thorough and independent investigations into such killings and the role of any armed groups in the violence.”
“Political violence has surged with people getting killed every day,” says Otsieno Namwaya, Africa researcher at HRW. “We are getting reports that police are using excessive force, beating and killing protesters and even those not participating in protests.”
Saying police have used excessive force to contain protests since August 2017 and that Amnesty International and it “documented at least 67 killings, most by gunshot, during protests by opposition supporters after the electoral commission declared [Uhuru] Kenyatta the winner of the August 8 election,” HRW calls for the killers of the people during Kenya’s prolonged electoral period to be held to account.
HRW says “the latest round of violence started after the authorities deployed police in and around Nairobi’s main airport to prevent [Raila] Odinga supporters from welcoming him back from an overseas trip. Police used teargas and water cannons to break up large crowds cheering him …Unidentified gunmen shot at Odinga’s car. Local and international media reported that, in the process, the police either shot or beat to death dozens of people.”
HRW quotes a photojournalist of having “witnessed four apparently unarmed supporters in Odinga’s convoy shot by police along Landhies Road and Haile Selassie Avenue, as the convoy entered central Nairobi.”
The rights body further says officials at Nairobi City Mortuary said they had received at least 15 bodies, “most of them with gunshot injuries.”
While local media and local human rights activists say 10 people are believed to have been killed between November 18 and November 20, international media have reported at least 24 people killed by police since November 17, HRW says.
“Human rights activists and a community mobilizer told Human Rights Watch that, since November 17, they had witnessed police killing protesters in Nairobi’s Dandora Phase Four, Kibera, Mathare, and Kawangware neighborhoods, as well as in Kisumu and Migori in western Kenya,” HRW says.
With the political tensions still high, HRW says, it is crucial for Kenyan authorities to ensure that any use of force by the police is lawful, and urgently investigate all killings.