, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – Police and Kenya Wildlife Service officers killed 126 people last year with 97 of these summarily executed, according to a new report by the Independent Medico Legal Unit released on Monday.
The report on deaths from police bullets indicates that 20 people were shot dead to protect life while nine died in unclear circumstances.
The killings however reduced compared to 2014 which had 199 victims, with IMLU pursuing 34 cases.
“These statistics put into question the commitment of the National Police Service respect of the right to life as prescribed under Article 26 of the Constitution and the assumption of innocence until proven guilty by an impartial judicial process,” IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama said.
According to the report, Nairobi recorded the highest cases at 61 followed by Nakuru at distant seven and Isiolo at six, while most deaths occurred in the month of January.
“Of concern is the continued misuse of firearms by police officers which is against the sixth schedule of the National Police Service Act that provides guidelines for use of force and firearms,” Kiama pointed out.
While calling on the Inspector General of Police, IPOA and the National Police Service to put measures to stop arbitrary executions of people, he revealed that IMLU is currently pursuing 27 cases where those found guilty will be sued.
Among the incidences include a case in Narok where two county rangers were charged with murder in court after IMLU documented the case and petitioned for the accountability.
According to the lobby group, several cases are in court and yet to be determined.
In the case of Kwekwe Mwandaza, where two police officers were charged with manslaughter and as a result sentenced to seven years, IMLU supported the family with exhumation of the body and second post-mortem plus carrying out a media advocacy campaign which led to arrest and charging of two police officers.
To deter such cases in future, IMLU wants the Independent Policing Oversight Authority to enhance its presence on the ground.
IPOA has lately recommended prosecution of police officers who are found culpable over various offences.
Kiama however pointed out that not all officers in the service were guilty of these accusations while calling on the relevant authorities to “dismiss those found to be guilty immediately.”
When reached for comment, Kenya Police Service spokesperson Charles Owino challenged IMLU to base their accusation on a legal basis.
“Has any file of inquiry been opened in the cause of deaths? Is that not an insult to the police service?” he asked.
He noted that the police service was under sharp scrutiny of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, “which ensures that in case such a situation arises, the culpable officer is held responsible.”
He went on to explain that “in the National Police Service, individual officers are held accountable of their own offences.”
Owino cautioned that such “reports can demoralise police officers who are doing a lot to secure this country.”
“How many officers have we lost while in line of duty?” he asked. “We have a mandate to protect life and property. Accusation should have legal basis.”