The killing of three teenagers in Utange, Kisauni, has brought the number of youth killed by police at the Coast to 56 in eight months, rights groups have said.
Muslims for Human Rights chairman Khelef Khalifa on Friday said extrajudicial killings are on the rise again in Mombasa.
“There is usually no investigation. We always hear people have been shot by police and that they were criminals. But criminals have rights, too,” he said.
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Kenga Ramadhan, 19, Juma Kitsau, 18, and Bilal Masoud, 17, were shot dead after allegedly being rounded up by police.
County police commander Johnston Ipara on Friday denied claims there is a hit squad targeting specific criminals. He said the three were in a group of over 10 people hiding behind the Utange primary perimeter wall with an intention to commit a crime.
He said the suspects charged at the police before they were shot. “In defense, the officers were able to neutralise the three. The rest managed to escape,” Ipara said. He said two knives, a panga and a bag containing clothes suspected to have been stolen were recovered.
Bilal dropped out of school in Standard 5 at Utange Primary School to operate a boda boda.
Kenga and Juma were selling secondhand clothes, when they were picked.
Juma’s mother, Saida Kitsau, said her son dropped out of school in Form 2 to engage in business.
Kenga’s father, Kazungu Masha, said it is sad that only people under 20 years are being targeted. Witnesses said they were ordered to lie down before being shot.
Police have said they were wanted criminals but their families say they have no idea why their sons were killed. “I have never known my son to be a criminal. He has never been arrested. Why was he killed?” Mejuma Ndaro, Bilal’s mother, asked.
Khalifa blames the people at the Coast for staying silent whenever such killings occur.
Haki Africa deputy executive director Salma Ahmed said fighting crime does not give police the licence to violate human rights.