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Thursday, August 17, 2017

LSK condemns excessive use of force on protesters

Police patrol through the streets of Mathare, in Nairobi, Kenya, August 13, 2017. /REUTERS
Police patrol through the streets of Mathare, in Nairobi, Kenya, August 13, 2017. /REUTERS

LSK has condemned the excessive use of force by security agencies in dealing with protesters during post-poll protests in various parts of the country.

The condemnation came as the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said at least 24 people had been killed during protests after allegedly being shot by the police.

In a statement, LSK President Issac Okero called on the Internal Affairs Unit of the National Police Force and the Independent Policing and Oversight Authority to carry out speedy investigations to ensure officers involved are brought to book.

“We reiterate our appeal to the security agencies to remain professional, neutral and non-partisan when undertaking their duty of maintaining law and order and use lawful means to deal with criminal elements,” Okero said on Sunday.

KNCHR chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori on Saturday also accused the police of forcefully gaining entrance to people’s homes where they either maime or extort money from residents in exchange for their freedom.

Read: 24 people have died in police hands since August 8, KNCHR says

Also read: 'Only six dead': Police slam NASA, KNCHR over deaths in post-election demos

However, opportunistic thugs, robbers, arsonists, rapists and burglars have reportedly been taking advantage of the protests in some areas to commit atrocious acts.

Protests erupted in various parts of the country Friday night following the announcement of presidential elections which NASA leader Raila Odinga disputes.

The protests are concentrated mainly in the opposition chief’s stronghold counties of Kisumu, Migori, Homabay, Siaya and the informal settlements of Mathare and Kibera in Nairobi.

Okero expressed concern over reports that journalist were being barred by security officers from accessing those areas to report on what is happening.

“This is wrong. The media is urged to take full advantage of the Constitutional freedoms accorded by Articles 34(1) and 39(1) in their coverage of all aspects of the post-election period and in particular of police operations in the aforementioned areas.

“The role of the media is important in holding all to account by providing balanced and accurate information. The security agencies are urged to facilitate this role,” Okero said.

Two KTN journalists, a reporter and a camera man, were arrested on Saturday and momentarily held by police at the Kilimani police station as they covered protests in Kibera.

Read: KTN journalist Khaemba arrested while covering Kibera protests

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