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January 18, 2019

Alarm as police kill 24 people in 21 days in Nairobi

Benna Buluma, who lost two children to extrajudicial killings, speaks to Dandora Justice Centre / EZEKIEL AMING’A
Benna Buluma, who lost two children to extrajudicial killings, speaks to Dandora Justice Centre / EZEKIEL AMING’A

The police have killed 24 people in the past three weeks in Dandora, Kayole, Mathare and Majengo, local based human rights organisations have said.

They include six in Dandora; two in Mowlem; 10 in Mathare North; four in Majengo; and two in Kayole.

Social Justice Centre and Police Reform Working Group raised a red flag over the rising cases of extrajudicial executions in informal settlements and called on the government to act swiftly and stop the killings.

"We wish to express concern over the increasing incidences of death from police use of lethal force. Over the past one month, incidences of torture and extrajudicial executions implicating police officers have sharply risen," Mathare Social Justice coordinator Gacheke Gachihi said.

Read: Dandora police killings spark outrage

The organisations have been documenting extrajudicial killings in the informal settlements and forwarding the cases to Independent Policing Oversight Authority for investigations and prosecution of the officers implicated in the killings.

Gachihi, who read a joint statement during a press briefing at the Dandora Community Justice Centre yesterday, said the dreaded officers have been carrying out the executions in open places and in broad daylight . Some of them (police) are well-known to the residents.

He said most of those killed are aged between 14 and 24; some are students, including KCSE candidates while others completed their secondary education less than three years ago.

He cited the killing of three students in Dandora on October 28 and that of a 25 year-old Evans Odhiambo, a mechanic who was picked from Mathare North Hospital on October 26 by armed police officers, only for for his lifeless body to be found at City mortuary with seven gunshot wounds the following day.

Police officers at Dandora (Kinyago) police station declined to speak to the Star, saying they were not authorised to speak to the media. Police spokesman Charles Owino and BuruBuru police boss Geoffrey Mayek respond to phone calls and text messages for comment.

Yesterday, 44-year-old James Ngare told the Star at the Centre that his 20-year-old son Steve Wero was executed outside Mowlem police station where he had been detained for one day.

Ngare said that his son was arrested on October 15 by an officer identified as Masaai at Dandora cinema for operating a boda boda without a license and a reflector jacket.

More: Extrajudicial killings target youth at Coast, says Muhuri

He was locked up at the station until the following day at about 9am when he was picked by three armed officers and bundled in a white probox car.

"Wero was hiring the motorcycle and was remitting Sh500 per day to the owner. He completed his form four in 2016 and he has tried to look for a job in vain," Ngare, a metal dealer, said.

Amid sobs and tears, Bena Buluma narrated how his two sons – Victor and Bernard – were killed in cold blood by police officers as they were returning home from work on August 9, last year.

Victor, 22, was shot on back and Bernard, 27, on the head and died instantly at about 2.30pm on Stage Number 10 in Mathare.

"I now have two orphans that I have to take care of and I don't have a job. My children were killed and I can say before God that they were not thieves," she said.

Agony written all over her face, Buluma lamented about the arbitrary killing saying that the police should arrest and charge the suspected youths instead.

"No mothers gives birth to child to become a thief or go to the university. We are left with burden and we are suffering. Let them arrest and jail them. It is painful," she said.

Dandora Community Justice Center coordinator Wilfred Olal said that witnesses who come out to provide information to the investigating agencies have been trailed, intimidated and some killed by the same officers. Human rights advocates following up the cases have too been threatened.

The groups urged IPOA and Internal affairs unit to expedite investigations into the executions and prosecute the culprits.

They also called on the government to form a commission of inquiry to probe the cases of extrajudicial killings in the city and other parts of the country

The groups urged the government to allow the request by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to visit the country to assess the situation and make appropriate recommendations for actions to stop killing of innocent Kenyans.

“There is need to speedily implement in full the National Corners Service Act 2017 to provide for independent forensic investigations of questionable deaths,” Olal said.

See also: Why extrajudicial killings have plagued Kenyans since Independence

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