Police killed majority of victims after poll

July 10, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, July 10 – Nearly half of all deaths during post election violence were caused by police according to a report tabled on Thursday before the Justice Phillip Waki-led commission.

The report, prepared by a local NGO – the Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU), indicates that 43 percent of the post poll victims were found with bullet wounds.

“The 57 percent others were either severed to death or burnt,” said IMLU’s Programmes Manager Dr Joan Wanjiru during the second day of public hearings.

“None of these people died from natural causes. All of them died from one form of violence or another. 43 percent of those sampled had gun shot injuries while 57 percent had died from injuries inflicted by sharp or blunt objects,” she said.

The organisation’s Executive Director Samuel Mohochi said they conducted post mortems on some 80 bodies randomly sampled from public mortuaries across the country.

Mohochi, who became the second witness to appear at the public inquiry after Police Commissioner Major General Mohammed Hussein Ali, said they were unable to conduct post mortems on all the bodies of people killed during the skirmishes, due to their limited capacity.

He said the organisation collaborated with the Ministry of Health and the police department in sampling the 80 bodies at various mortuaries.

The operation was conducted in Kisumu, Nairobi, Kakamega, Nakuru and Eldoret, which were the worst hit parts of the country.

Human rights and charity organisations placed the death toll from the skirmishes at 1,500 but the figure was disputed on Wednesday by the Commissioner of Police, who said only 616 fatalities were reported to them.

“Many bodies of people killed during the post election violence were piled up in mortuaries but we could not conduct post mortems on all of them,” he said.

Mohochi said the transport crisis at the time hampered their movements, making it difficult for them to access other parts of the country.

He also cited the inadequate number of Pathologists in the country as the main reason why they were unable to examine all the bodies preserved in mortuaries.

Lawyer Evans Monari, who is representing the Police, challenged him to explain why IMLU concluded that 43 percent of the victims were shot dead by the police without conducting ballistic examinations.

“We made the conclusion because we had cases where family members claimed they saw police shoot at their relatives,” he said.

The commission has lined up several senior security officials, who would testify on the actions they took to suppress the violence.

On Thursday afternoon, Internal Security and Provincial Administration Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia presented a report, suggesting that electoral violence crimes and political incitement be made capital offences.

Kimemia said that introducing stiffer penalties is the only way the country could deter perpetrators, to avoid what was witnessed in the country after the disputed Presidential elections.

Among some of the government recommendations, was a proposal to establish at least one national school in all districts in the country, to promote national cohesion and fight tribalism.


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