NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – A United Nations panel on extra judicial killings was on Sunday presented with names of 1,000 Mungiki suspects allegedly executed by Kenyan police since July 2006.
The team headed by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Professor Philip Alston has been collecting evidence from various human rights activists, government officials and affected families as it prepares to release a report this Wednesday.
Officials from the team visited the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) on Sunday and spent hours interviewing individual family members including widows and other relatives of those they claim were executed by Kwekwe squad, an anti-Mungiki police unit, which the government claims was disbanded.
Njuguna Gitau, the Spokesman of a political party affiliated to the outlawed Mungiki movement said they had presented cases of 1,000 people who were initially reported missing and later found murdered.
“The number could be much higher but we are presenting the ones we have strong evidence on,” he told reporters at the KNCHR headquarters in Nairobi.
“We are here because of an invitation by various human rights organizations who wanted us to come and meet the Special Rapporteur because there have been many cases of disappearances and killing of our members,” he said.
An official in Prof Alton’s team said they were taking evidence in camera and would not allow journalists to access the evidence collected.
“This is a sensitive matter and for the sake of their own security, we will not allow you access unless you speak to individual families. An official statement will be issued on Wednesday by Prof Alston,” the official speaking on condition of anonymity said.
Men, women and children started arriving at the commission’s offices as early as 8 am.
Prof Alston was however, not present and was said to be on a tour of Central Kenya, collecting similar evidence.
“He is expected later in the day and could perhaps join us,” another official in his team said.
Affected family members who spoke to Capital News accused the criminal justice system of failing to provide justice.
A widow Grace Wairimu said her husband was last seen alive on October 02, 2008.
“He was at a garage in Kayole fixing his vehicle. That is when some six men who identified themselves as police officers picked him up and bundled him into a police van. We have never seen him again,” Mrs Wairimu said.
She said she reported the matter at the Buru Buru Police station but nothing concrete came out of it.
“The police were uncooperative and have never offered me an explanation. I even engaged a lawyer who pursued the case but the files have since disappeared from the registry,” she said.
Mrs Wairimu said she hopes to see her husband alive some day.
“I don’t want to believe he is dead because I have not seen his body. I have searched all the mortuaries in Nairobi and those in Machakos and Thika,” she said.
Joseph Waweru on his part said his son David Mwangi Irungu who was arrested by police on January 21, 2009 has not been seen since then.
“He was picked up at 12 pm and handcuffed before he was taken away. I later went to the police stations in the area but he was not there. I don’t know where he is and the police are not willing to tell me where he is. I don’t know if he is dead or alive,” Mr Waweru said.
Many of the missing persons are youth aged 14 to 35 who disappeared at the height of a spirited war on Mungiki in operations that began in 2007.