Kenyan police disbands squad after international outcry
A Kenyan police squad previously accused of carrying out extra-judicial killings as it sought to demobilize a notorious semi-religious sect was disbanded and its officers have left the force, a police spokesman said on Saturday.
Kenya police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said the Kwe Kwe squad, a unit formed for a short-term objective of dealing with the Mungiki menace, was disbanded and that its officers left the force in search of better jobs elsewhere while others have died.
Reacting to claims by former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga that members of the force were trailing him with the intent of assassinating him, police said most squadron members left the force or died through "natural attrition."
"The Kwe Kwe squad was formed for a short-term operation and was disbanded. Some of the officers have left, some are outside Nairobi, others left for greener pastures and some died," Kiraithe told a news conference Saturday.
Kiraithe said most officers serving in the various units were known and would be punished if it was true any of them were involved. "We ask him to provide us with additional information," Kiraithe said.
The former Mungiki leader said those trailing him were intent of assassinating him. But police said the claims could not be verified as the number plates of the cars provided could not be ascertained to belong to the government after a search.
police said, however, that further investigations would continue to ascertain if a local parliamentarian was involved in the plot.
Police sources said the case was related to the ongoing case at the International Criminal Court (ICC), where the investigators have been concentrating on the role played by the police during Kenya’s post-election violence.
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo claims in evidence linking top officials in Kenya that the Mungiki, a group best known for its deadly beheading of victims, was responsible for some forms of violence, much like the Janjaweed in Darfur.
Former UN rapporteur on extra-judicial killings Philip Alston accused the Kwe Kwe squad, which he called a police death squad, of arbitrarily killing hundreds of people. Alston claimed to have documented 24 occasions on which the Kwe Kwe squad undertook 58 executions of suspects.
Kiraithe termed the report a "baseless fabrication devoid of an iota of fact." Kiraithe said the report was full of generalities and wild allegations.
The accusations of police involvement in the extra-judicial killings landed Kenya at the UN Human Rights Council, where authorities were asked to defend the allegations in the past.