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November 21, 2018

What about police rights, lobbies asked after alarm over war on gangsters

A file photo of Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid during a press conference in Mombasa. /JOHN CHESOLI
A file photo of Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid during a press conference in Mombasa. /JOHN CHESOLI

Police have accused human rights officials of selectively defending cases of gang killings and disappearances in Mombasa.

Officers killed 26-year-old Abubakar Salim, on suspicion that he was a gang member in Mwandoni, Kisauni Sub County on Saturday.

They said Salim was killed after he and two of his accomplices attacked police on patrol when they were asked to surrender.

Hussein Khalid, the Executive Director of rights group Haki Africa, said police killed a reformed youth and accused them of curtailing efforts to rehabilitate former criminals.

Read: Alarm over gangs terrorising Mombasa pedestrians at night

But Coast regional police boss Noah Mwavidah wondered why the lobbies only respond to particular cases of alleged rights violations.

“Reports that police have felled 25 innocent Kenyans are fallacies,” he told reporters at Kenya School of Government on Monday, on the sidelines of the launch of a senior police officers’ training.

The month-long training brings together 40 officers in the ranks of Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) and Officers Commanding Police Division (OCPDs) from across the country.

Mwavidah said: “In 2013 we lost an OCPD, an OCS, a corporal and a constable through marauding machete-wielding gangs. Did they enjoy human rights?”

“I wonder if police officers have no human rights,” he added. "Let us respect human rights both ways."

Last month, a police constable was killed while confronting two gang members in Magodoroni, Kisauni. He died after bleeding excessively from stab wounds.

Mwavida said reformed youths who renounce crime but return to it will be dealt with accordingly.

“Those terrorising residents in Kisauni, Likoni, Bombululu and Kongowea with machetes must stop. We are following them ... the consequences are dire and very obvious,” he warned.

More on this: We feel safer in criminal gangs than with police - Kisauni youths

Also read: Poverty and lack of jobs push more youth into criminal gangs

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