Kenya tops Africa in police extrajudicial killings
Kenya has been ranked top in Africa in cases of police shootings and killing of civilians according to a report by Amnesty International shows.
The report indicates that by October 2016, a total of 122 extrajudicial killings had been reported in Kenya, out of 177 cases in Africa.
However, the figure could have been hire but there was lack of official database of police killings or enforced disappearances, says the report.
This puts the country ahead of fourteen African nations of Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia which also recorded cases of police harassment and deaths.
However, the fourteen ranked high on violation of freedom of expression as well as the arrest and detention of members of opposition parties and groups.
In the 2016/17 Amnesty International report, a majority of the cases were witnessed in the coastal region, with most conducted under the guise of combating terrorism and the insurgent Al-Shabaab terror group.
“Security forces carried out enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture with impunity,” says the report.
“According to Haki Africa, a human rights group, there were 78 extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances in Mombasa County in the first eight months of 2016.”
Other abuses were committed by unaccountable police officers and security agencies, says the report.
The police and other investigating agencies have also been accused of turning a blind eye to human rights violations.
“In the context of counter-terrorism operations targeting Al-Shabaab, security agencies were implicated in human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and torture,” says the report.
Some of the high-profile killings by police included that of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josphat Mwendwa and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri, who were abducted and later found dead in a river in Machakos County.
Mr Mwendwa, a boda boda rider, had accused an Administration Police officer of attempted murder.
Mr Job Omariba, a nurse in Meru was also reported to have gone missing in Nairobi last August.
His body was later found at the Machakos mortuary.
Three police officers were later arrested on suspicion of his abduction and murder.
Besides deaths and imprisonment, human rights defenders and journalists also faced physical assaults, intimidation and harassment.
“The authorities continued to curtail freedom of expression by intimidating and harassing journalists, bloggers and other members of civil society.
“Political opposition, anti-corruption groups and other civil society activists, as well as journalists and bloggers, were harassed,” says the report.