IMLU says police used excessive force during August, October polls

November 1, 2017 5:39 pm
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IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama says of the 23 deaths following the August elections, they carried out a post-mortem on 12 bodies, where it was established that 11 died of gunshots wounds/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1- A new report by the Independent Medico-Legal Unit accuses police of killing 36 people after the August and October elections, with most fatalities recorded in Opposition strongholds.

IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama says of the 23 deaths following the August elections, they carried out a post-mortem on 12 bodies, where it was established that 11 died of gunshots wounds.

Kiama says the preliminary report has not shown any clear demonstration that police were shooting to defend their lives or those of other Kenyans, saying in some two incidents the supposed attackers were shot from the back, raising doubts they were confronting the law enforcers.

“In both the August and October public order management responses by the police, it is evident that they responded with indiscriminate use of force in most instances observed, with no chance for other models of policing like open dialogue and reaching to local leadership to de-escalate the situation,” he said.

“The coordination expected after all the assurances were given prior to the August and October elections has been put into question with residents in many neighbourhoods in Opposition strongholds hailing the local police for their restraint and blaming ‘strangers’ for the excessive use of force.”

During that electioneering period, the human rights lobby group recorded 64 cases of excessive force by the police with 34 people being shot. Twenty Eight suffered torture and beatings while two others suffered injuries after inhaling teargas.

Nairobi County recorded the highest number of cases, followed by Kisumu and Siaya County which had one incident.

In Kisumu for example, a 30 year-old-man who was riding on a motorbike when anti-riot police officers shot at him, according to IMLU.

“He was rushed to the hospital but passed on while receiving treatment at the hospital,” reads the report.

“The victim died from a penetration gunshot wound to the chest (high velocity and distant), another case indicative of execution that calls for proper investigations.”

Out of the 34 who were shot, 13 succumbed to their injuries between October 25 and 28 2017.

Fifty one of those who were shot, tortured and assaulted by police are currently recuperating in different hospitals in Nairobi, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori Counties.

– Recommendations –

The lobby group has called upon the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and Police Internal Affairs Unit to expedite investigations into what they term as apparent cases of summary execution and forward the report to the DPP for prosecution of those found culpable.

They also called upon the National Police Service Commission to institute disciplinary actions against police officers involved and in particular, the officers with command responsible over the operations in the affected areas.

Also, IMLU wants the National Police Service (NPS) to provide IPOA with an audit report on the manner in which firearms were used in reference to the documented cases.

Kiama also added that, “the Witness Protection Agency and the Office of the DPP to issue public assurance for personal safety and security to all potential witnesses and family members, some who have gone into hiding for fear of their lives.”

The monitoring was done in 19 Counties which had earlier been identified as hotspots since 1st June 2017.

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