EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTION

At least 100 Kenyans killed by police last year — report

Most of those killed were mostly youths from informal settlements.

In Summary

• 69 per cent of those killed were mostly aged between 18 and 35, followed by 20 per cent of those below 18.

• March was the worst month as 23 young men were killed, most of them in groups of seven and five.

Mercy Langat, an official from Missing Voices project, hands roses to Mama Victor in Nairobi on February 14, 2020.
Mercy Langat, an official from Missing Voices project, hands roses to Mama Victor in Nairobi on February 14, 2020.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

Some 107 Kenyans were killed by the police last year.

This is according to a report released on Friday in Nairobi. Data by Missing Voices show that most of those killed were youths from informal settlements. Missing Voices is a group of organisations "whose mission is to end enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Kenya".

The report, which relied on deaths documented in 2019, indicated that 69 per cent of those killed were mostly aged between 18 and 35. Some 20 per cent of them were below 18.

 

Speaking during the event, Amnesty International chairperson Renee Ngamau said the trend to criminalise youths, especially those from poor backgrounds, has been on the rise.

"Kenya is heading on a slippery slope where we seem to criminalise the youth. Most of those killed were from lower-income areas, where it seems the law does not apply," she said.

"The numbers show that about 80 per cent of those killed in 2019 in what police call anti-crime operations were below the age of 35."

According to the report, March was the worst month. Some 23 young men were killed, most of them in groups of seven and five.

Independent Medical Legal Unit boss Peter Kiama said despite positive efforts to reform the police, there remained a sharp increase in police killings in January this year, with about 14 Kenyans killed.

"A number of changes included Inspector General commanding that all officers wear uniforms while on duty, disbanding units such as the Flying Squad that have in the past been accused of killings. In January, we witnessed the killing of innocent young men like 17-year-old Stephen Machurusi in Mwiki during a protest and 19-year-old Hemedi Majini in Majengo by police officers," he said.

During protests after the burial of Hemedi, three people were killed by police, while a child who was playing lost his sight after being hit by a stray bullet.

 

"These young men posed no threats to the officers and were unarmed. Last year, our hearts were broken by the killing of baby Dan Githinji during a raid by police officers in a chang'aa den," Kiama said.

In 2018, Carilton Maina and Evans Njoroge were killed by police in separate incidents.