US urges Kenya to end extra judicial killings

January 22, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22- The United States government on Saturday said it was gravely concerned by the police shootings that took place on Wednesday morning on Langata Road in Nairobi.

US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said the incident raised serious questions about law enforcement and accountability in the country.

Mr Ranneberger further proposed that proper investigations surrounding the shooting be conducted to ensure that the officers involved were held to account.

“It is imperative that a swift, thorough, and objective inquiry into this incident be carried out. If warranted by the investigation, the officers involved should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he said.

He added that it was necessary for Kenyan authorities to demonstrate that impunity and extrajudicial killings would not be tolerated. 

“Without effective, expeditious, and transparent action, ongoing efforts to carry out police reform will lose credibility and the support of the international community,” he argued.

He has also lauded the actions taken by Internal Security Minister George Saitoti who suspended the police officers who were caught on camera executing suspected robbers in cold blood.

The minister also announced that the officers would face court charges once investigations were completed.

“Once investigations are completed, disciplinary action will be taken including prosecuting the officers in a court of law," he added. "I want to assure the public that stern action will be taken against such errant officers," he had said.

Capital News also reliably learnt that the officers who participated in the shooting were disarmed on Thursday morning and ordered to write statements giving circumstances that led to the killings.

Those interdicted included one who was recently promoted to the rank of a sergeant and two corporals all based at the Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU).

Five other police officers – two from the SCPU and three from the Flying Squad unit were spared because they did not fire a single shot at the scene.

Two of those who were spared were drivers who are said to have remained in their vehicles when the gangsters were subdued and eventually shot.

By Thursday afternoon, all the guns allocated to the seven police officers had been taken to the CID headquarters for ballistic tests.

The officers were also been asked to record statements and indicate how many guns they handled, bullets they used and any other role they played at the scene of the shooting before and after the suspects were killed.

The incident raised sharp criticism for members of the force with various civil societies, MPs as well as the British government condemning it.

British High Commissioner to Kenya Rob Macaire expressed his government’s ‘deep and serious concern about the circumstances of the apparent extrajudicial executions’.

Amnesty international also took issue with the killings saying they were an outright show of the impunity in Kenya.

In 2009, United Nations special envoy on extrajudicial killings, Philip Alston, said that extrajudicial killings by Kenyan police were widespread, systematic, carefully planned and undertaken on a regular basis.

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