Kenya PM protests police killings

March 13, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 13 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has directed that police officers who participated in the killing of seven taxi drivers in Kawangware on Wednesday night be charged in court by Monday.

The PM told a press conference on Saturday that the coalition government will not tolerate rogue law enforcers.

"I want this case to be a test case of our commitment to police reforms, I am directing the Minister for Internal Security to immediately arrest the concerned officers and have them arraigned in court," he said.

The premier also wants a thorough investigation into the shooting incident.

He said the probe should find out under what circumstances Administration Police officers shot dead the seven unarmed taxi drivers in Nairobi\’s Dagoretti area.

Mr Odinga said the coalition government was concerned over the increasing cases of police brutality against innocent Kenyans, a trend he maintained should immediately come to an end.
"We must stop this madness because at this rate, no Kenyan is safe, today is Oscar Kingara (human rights activist) tomorrow is suspected Mungiki follower, the next day it is somebody else," he said.

Mr Odinga said he wanted the Kawangware case to be a test of the country\’s commitment to police reforms and the rule of law.

"Last June, we were in Geneva as a government response to world concerns of about police killings in wake of the murder of Oscar Foundation officials, to date nobody has been charged over the killing," Mr Odinga said.

The Premier urged police officers to ensure they observe the law and respect life as they discharge their duties.
"I want to state one more time that Kenya is not a failed state, the rule of law and constitutional and God-given right to life must apply to each Kenya, and this country must not relapse into a police state," he said.

He said it was unfortunate that police officers were getting away with murder after shooting people dead in the pretext of being sect members and in self defense.

On Friday, Prof Saitoti said Administration Police Officers suspected to have been involved in the killing of the seven taxi had been arrested and interdicted to facilitate investigations.

The Minister said: "There were various explanations given over the killings, hence the need to thoroughly investigate the issue. If there is a criminal element found, everyone involved will be taken to court."

Police had earlier claimed that the seven men killed were suspected Mungiki sect members who were gunned down when they were found terrorising boda boda operators.

Fellow taxi drivers who managed to escape later recounted how the Administration Police officers accosted them and opened fire, killing the seven.

One of the Administration Policeman at the Dagoreti AP Camp told Capital News they rushed to the scene after a boda boda operator went there to report that they were under attack by Mungiki\’s who were armed with machetes.

Last year, Professor Phillip Alston, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations.
Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions accused the Kenya police of being involved in human rights abuses and among a raft of other measures proposed the removal of the then police Commissioner Major General Mohammed Ali.

Following intense pressure, Mr Ali was replaced by Matthew Iteere who promised to weed out rogue officers from the police force.


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