NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 16 – Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet has dismissed the findings of a report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that claimed that police killed 33 people after the August 8 polls.
Boinnet said they are only aware of 12 deaths that are under investigation – including the killing of a 9-year-old girl in Nairobi’s Mathare slum, and a six-month-old baby in Kisumu.
Amnesty International and HRW accused law enforcers of killing at least 33 people when NASA supporters poured into the streets to protest the declaration of President Uhuru Kenyatta as winner.
“We wish to refute the claims as totally misleading and based on falsehoods. We are studying the report and will issue a comprehensive report later,” he said in a statement Monday.
Researchers from the two bodies found that armed police – most of them from the General Service Unit (GSU) and Administration Police (AP) – carried out law enforcement operations in Mathare, Kibera, Babadogo, Dandora, Korogocho, Kariobangi and Kawangware neighbourhoods in Nairobi between August 9 and 13. They shot directly at some protesters and also opened fire, apparently randomly, on crowds.
Victims and witnesses told researchers that as protesters ran away, police pursued them, kicking down doors and chasing people down alleyways, shooting and beating many to death.
The report titled “‘Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections,” documents several cases of excessive use of force by police in Opposition strongholds and concludes that as many as 50 people may have been killed in actual sense and hundreds more injured.
“The Kenyan authorities should publicly acknowledge the violations, conduct speedy, impartial, thorough, and transparent investigations, and take the necessary steps under the law to hold those responsible to account as a key step toward justice for the victims,” said Otsieno Namwaya, Africa Researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“The police attacked opposition supporters and then tried to cover up their attacks. The authorities should ensure that this kind of arbitrary and abusive use of force by police does not recur in the repeat election.”
In the days after the poll, Opposition supporters took to the streets in areas of the capital to protest irregularities in the election, in which the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner.
On September 1, the Supreme Court nullified the results and ordered a new election within 60 days.
A similar report was released last week by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and equally dismissed by Police Headquarters which is under intense pressure from the Opposition to justify Friday’s killing of three people shot dead in Bondo after they were accused of storming a police station.