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October 20, 2017

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

A resident gestures at police on patrol in Kibera after residents took to the streets to demonstrate against presidential election results on Saturday, August 12, 2017. /LARRY ASEGO
A resident gestures at police on patrol in Kibera after residents took to the streets to demonstrate against presidential election results on Saturday, August 12, 2017. /LARRY ASEGO

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has said 24 people have been killed by police across the country since August 8. 

Chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori said on Saturday, Nairobi accounts for the highest number of casualties with 17 deaths which occurred mainly after the announcement of presidential election results on Friday night.

Homa Bay, Migori and Siaya account for two deaths each while one death had been reported in Kisumu, Mbogori said during a press conference in Nairobi.

NASA principals put the death toll at over 100. 

Read: NASA claims 100 killed in post-poll chaos, reject Uhuru re-election

Mbogori said the commission has established that the deaths were caused by the use of live bullets by the police who moved in to contain violent protests that erupted soon after the announcement of election results.

“These cases indicate the casualties were felled by bullets and the same has been corroborated by family and community members who have indicated that they were killed during the protests,” Mbogori said at a press conference in Nairobi.

Sporadic violence erupted mainly in NASA strongholds within the city and parts of Nyanza, the bastion of the opposition coalition leader Raila Odinga who disputes President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election. 

Read: 'Uhuru must go': Deadly protests in Siaya, stone-throwing in Kisumu after Raila defeat

Mbogori said the commission has established that there have been ongoing security operations in Nyalenda, Nyamasaria, Morlem, Manyatta, Mamboleo and Kondele in Kisumu since Friday night.

Similar operations were also being conducted in Migori, Bondo and Nairobi’s Mathare and Kibera informal settlements, Mbogori said.

The operations, she claimed, have seen the police use excessive force resulting in deaths of unarmed civilians.

 Read: 10-year-old among 11 shot dead as Mathare post-election anger boils

Mbogori appealed to Inspector general of Police Joseph Boinett and acting Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to take immediate action and stop the killings.

Her appeal came hours after Matiang’i denied that police were using excessive force against demonstrators including the use of live bullets.

“Through our monitors and reliable partners from different parts of this country, our commission can confirm that there has been excessive use of force and misuse of firearms.

“The commission has established that there are many cases of brutality being meted out by police on civilians and we want to condemn this in the strongest terms possible.”

The KNCHR boss called on the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) and the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko to investigate the cases and bring the officers involved to book.

Apart from the reported deaths, injuries as a result of police brutality have also been reported in Kisumu.

Two people were being treated with gunshot wounds at the Russia hospital in the Lakeside city while five other victims at the same facility had injuries inflicted by blunt objects, Mbogori said.

She said injured victims had also been admitted at Orupa nursing home and Tabaka mission hospital in Migori.

 According to the human rights defender, police were also forcefully gaining entrance to people’s homes and threatening them with violence including rape.

She listed Nyamasaria, Morlem and Nyalenda in Kisumu and Nairobi’s Kibera and Mathare slums as areas where GSU officers were also allegedly extorting money from residents in exchange for their freedom.

Meanwhile, the KNCHR has condemned criminal acts being perpetrated by some people in the guise of demonstrating.

Mbogori said while picketing and demonstrating is guaranteed under Articles 37 and 38 of the Constitution, it was wrong for people to take advantage of the legal provision to loot and destroy public and private property.

“Our commission appeals for calm and reminds Kenyans that the rule of law and human rights have not been suspended during this period.”

“That means as members of the public, you must respect and uphold the dignity, life and property of others,” Mbogori said.

Her remarks came amid reports that demonstrators attacked a bank in Kibera’s Gatwekera area and looted businesses in Kawangware and Dandora.

Related: Amnesty warns police after deadly post-election protests

Mbogori asked members of the public to report any cases of abuse of human rights through the toll-free number 0800-720-627 or through SMS line 22359.

She further urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to move with speed and upload all Forms 34As and 34Bs on its portal for public scrutiny to help quell rising tensions caused by suspicions surrounding the election results.

 

 

 

 

 

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