NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 16 – Police Spokesman Charles Owino has dismissed a report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights detailing accusations of executions and forced disappearance of terror suspects as “cheap propaganda.”
Owino denies police have executed 25 terror suspects and forced hundreds of others to disappear, saying those reported missing are likely in Somalia where they went to join Al Shabaab.
“What surprises me is that the government agents and the general public that are getting killed seem not to get rights on the eyes of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights,” he pointed out.
“The government has all the machinery… it is not real that people would be killed in a military camp and then buried behind the camp in a shallow grave. If truly the military has killed, they have the capacity to hide you (not in a shallow grave)”
This, he said was propaganda that it is designed by people who are “agents of the hand grenades, bombing and killings in Nairobi and the country, who has seen it has come down. They want the security agencies to be under pressure and relax on what they are doing.”
He was responding to accusations contained in a damning report released by the commission on Tuesday, that heavily indicts the police of extra judicial killings, torture and forced disappearance during the renewed war on terrorism launched soon after the 2013 Westgate attack.
Following the government amnesty on terror suspects, Owino said 200 youths who had joined Al-Shabaab have since returned to the country and are currently undergoing rehabilitation.
He denied allegations that the rights commission had been denied access to some police stations during their investigations saying if true, they should have reported to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).
“It also depends on how you went to a police station; there are procedures that should be followed,” he told Capital FM News.
“Let them mention the specific station they were denied access to.”
According to KNCHR, police were a major barrier during their investigations more so when they wanted to establish the whereabouts of terror suspects allegedly arrested by the police.
The report details various counts of alleged victims of police brutality who were either linked to terror or were merely relatives to terror suspects.
READ: KNCHR: Kenya police guilty of extra-judicial killings
The report points out that some were picked by security officers and their whereabouts is 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.”
The report titled ‘The Error Of Fighting Terror With Terror’ lists 25 extra judicial killings and 81 forced disappearances, various forms police have allegedly used to torture their victims.
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 report that documented 120 cases of alleged abuses states that there exist torture chambers in military camps in Wajir, Mandera and Lamu where most suspects were tortured.