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Police warn KNCHR over Mungiki claims

NAIROBI, September 24 – The Kenya Police on Wednesday threatened to take legal action against the government human rights watchdog after it released a damning damming report that accused the law enforcers of executing over 300 people suspected to have links with the Mungiki sect.

Police Spokesman Mr Erick Kiraithe who described the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) report as a product of manipulation and mere rumours said the department would not sit back and watch ‘opportunists’ continue damaging the force’s reputation.

“It is a product of very, very malicious people and we are looking at legal avenues to deal with the individuals responsible for this kind of allegations of atrocities,” he told Capital News in an interview.

The 300-page report dubbed ‘The Cry of Blood’ alleges that police had arrested, detained, tortured and killed some 349 Mungiki suspects.

Released on Tuesday by KNCHR vice chairman Mr Hassan Omar Hassan, the report contains a detailed analysis of Mungiki activities and the operation carried out against the group by the police since October 2007.

It revealed what it termed ‘numerous extra-judicial killings and disappearances of persons’ who were reportedly last seen while in the custody of the police.

It also contained photographs and a brief history of some of the victims – mainly matatu operators – who disappeared or whose bodies were found dumped in mortuaries or forests.

In the report are names of several police officers said to have been seen as they arrested some of the victims, many of whom have not been seen alive since.

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It states that many of the suspects were either shot, strangled, hacked or tortured by the police, an issue Mr Kiraithe vehemently denies.

“No police officer can reduce himself to the level of bludgeoning people using rungus.  This is a very very unfortunate story. It is a product of people hell bent on creating an environment fit for crime to thrive,” he said.

But even as Mr Kiraithe launched a scathing attack at the commission, Capital News independently established that members of the outlawed Mungiki sect were planning to stage a protest in Nairobi next week where they would parade widows of the victims named in the controversial report.

“Women and children are suffering, they have never seen their husbands or fathers while others have been widowed and orphaned. These are the people we want to parade during our planned protest,” an official of the sect who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

The KNCHR report had indicated that there was a further 200 bodies the commission was unable to identify since they had merely been booked in mortuaries as unknown adults, raising the number of people allegedly executed to over 500.

“The extra-judicial executions and other brutal acts of extreme cruelty have been perpetrated by the police against the so-called Mungiki adherents and that these may have been committed pursuant to official policy sanctioned by the political leadership, the police commissioner and top police commanders,” the report stated.

Mr Kiraithe concluded that authors of the report were in possession of a lot of information regarding the banned sect and faulted it for failing to establish if the purported victims were indeed members of the outlawed sect.

“It displays a lot of information which could lead to the fact that (Mr) Omar is privy to a lot of Mungiki activities” he said.

He said the commission had relied on what he termed as hearsay to fabricate serious allegations with the intention of demonizing the police department as one that had no sanctity for human life.

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“This is a report that does not deserve any particular attention at all,” he said.

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