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January 20, 2019

Matiang'i denies use of live bullets, deaths in post-election protests

Residents in Mathare display shells of live bullets reportedly used by police to disperse post-election protesters, August 12, 2017. /MONICAH MWANGI
Residents in Mathare display shells of live bullets reportedly used by police to disperse post-election protesters, August 12, 2017. /MONICAH MWANGI

Fred Matiang'i has refuted claims that protesters have been killed by police and cautioned against social media users against fanning violence.

Gunshots continue as police disperse residents protesting President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election on Friday.

A girl was shot dead in Mathare on Saturday by police firing sporadic shots, while four other people died in other protests over the last week.

Read: Girl shot dead in Mathare as post-election anger boils

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

But Matiang'i told the press on Saturday, "I am not aware of anyone who has been killed by live bullets in this country those are rumours. People who loot, break into people’s homes, burn buses are not peaceful protesters."

The acting Interior CS acknowledged that there were protests in Kisumu, Mathare and Kibera, adding that police have not used any disproportionate force against any protester.

"Even in these areas I have mentioned, there are no demonstrations they are looters, and looters are criminals that ought to be arrested," he said.

"Draw a line between peaceful protesters and opportunistic criminals, looters. For the latter police will respond differently."

More on this: Amnesty warns police after deadly post-election protests

Matiang'i who is also Education CS said picketing is legal adding: "Why on earth would police shoot at peaceful protesters?"

"In this country, how many times have police officers escorted protesters hurling insults in these same streets?"

Matiang'i said Kenyans have a right to feel displeasure and express it, but noted that they should not hurt people.

"We are each other's keeper, you have a right to picket but please do not hurt other Kenyans,don't loot. We should not disrupt people's business either," he said.

He said photographs and video's going round on social media purporting that Kenya is chaotic are false alarms.

"Much of what is going on, on social media is lies and destructive to our country. Security have been instructed to arrest culprits ... I have been informed that arrests have been made to ensure there is responsibility," he said.

"The impression being created through social media is false.. social media is not true."

On Friday, the government criticised the international media for using 'fake violence photos' in different parts of the country to depict the country wrongly.

"We take offence from accredited international media houses who have chosen to mislead the public by using images and video clips from 2007," Matiangi said.

In a statement on Thursday night, Matiangi said the media houses have been using other unrelated incidents to create a misleading impression of the security situation.

Angry protests erupted in opposition strongholds in Nairobi and Kisumu areas as the counting of votes from Tuesday's election continued, but the election commission said the election had been free and fair.

Read: Kenya offended by International media over 'fake violence' photos

More on this: Two dead in Mathare chaos as youths protest election results

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