NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 15 – A report released Tuesday by the government’s human rights organisation heavily indicts the Kenyan Police of extra-judicial killings during the ongoing terror crackdown
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) report titled ‘The Error of Fighting Terror With Terror’ lists 25 extra judicial killings and 81 forced disappearances and torture.
It includes water boarding, electric shocks, genital mutilation, exposure to extreme cold or heat, hanging on trees, mock executions and exposure to stinging by ants in the wild.
“The Kenya security agencies have continued to conduct abusive operations against individuals and groups suspected to be associated with terror attacks in the various parts of the country,” reads the report.
“KNCHR has heard multiple narratives of suspects being rounded up and detained for periods ranging from a few hours to many days in extremely overcrowded and inhumane and degrading conditions.”
The report details various counts of alleged victims of police brutality who were either linked to terror or were merely relatives to terror suspects.
The report points out that some were picked by security officers and their whereabouts are yet to be known.
“The commission is concerned that the ongoing crackdown continues to disproportionately target certain groups of people particularly ethnic Somalis and members of the Muslim faith in the coastal region,” the report indicates.
“The profiling of people along ethnic or religious lines constitute discrimination and is therefore unconstitutional and against international norms.”
Releasing the report, the commission’s Vice Chairperson George Morara called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to condemn the alleged violation of human rights among a list of other recommendations.
“The president should acknowledge and condemn the abuses by security agencies and call upon them to ensure respect for the rule of law and human rights in the fight against terrorism,” he stated.
“He should issue an official public apology to the survivors and families of victims of the abuses.”
He challenged the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to launch investigations on the said allegations “and take action against responsible police officers.”
He called on the Director of Public Prosecutions to instruct the Inspector General of Police to ensure prompt and comprehensive investigations are conducted in the alleged ongoing human rights abuses.
The report that documented 120 cases of alleged abuses indicates that there exist torture chambers in military camps in Wajir, Mandera and Lamu where most suspects were tortured.
To the Chief of Kenya Defence Forces, the commission wants him to “issue clear instructions to all military personnel that abuse of civilians/suspects including torture, extra judicial killings and arbitrary arrest are illegal and will not be tolerated.”
They also want the military police to conduct investigations into crimes committed by military personnel.
Morara further called on the parliamentary committees on Defence and National Security to conduct an independent probe on the abuses committed by KDF.
“Parliament should restrict the involvement of the military in internal affairs given the refusal of KDF to be held accountable for their actions,” he asserted.
“The amendment to the KDF Act that attempts to outs the parliamentary oversight on KDF should be removed.”
He cautioned the government to ensure the undergoing Boni forest operation meets the threshold of the constitution.
The National Police Service has however since distanced itself from the said forced disappearances of terror suspects saying majority of people missing were joining the Al-Qaeda linked terror militia, Al-Shabaab in the war torn Somalia.