Rights group says Kenya police killed over 36 during elections


More than 36 Kenyans have been killed by police since August 11, when the results of the repeat presidential elections were announced.

The Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU) announced Wednesday that the 23 people died following the August elections and another 13, before, during and after the elections done on October 26.

The rights lobby group said there was evidence that the police responded to riots using indiscriminate force with no chance for other models of policing, especially in opposition strongholds.

Security forces

IMLU said it had recorded grievous violations of human rights committed by the National Police Service during the elections.

IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama also questioned the coordination in the security forces, saying that many areas received newly deployed police officers without the knowledge of those in charge of the division.

“Residents in many neighbourhoods in opposition strongholds hailed the local police for their restraint and blamed ‘strangers’ for the excessive use of force,” Mr Kiama said.

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He said there was a legitimate need to examine the command structure in situations where the local officers received extra or specialised terms to beef up capacity.

“This begged the question: is the local police boss in charge in such situations or do the surge officers receive instructions from their unit bosses or are they on their own?” Mr Kiama posed.

The organisation revealed that it had, with the consents of the victims’ families, conducted post mortem on the bodies of those who were killed, and established that some people were shot without necessarily having posed a threat to the police officers.

Out of the people who lost their lives after the initial elections, according to IMLU, seven had gunshot wounds to the chest, two had them on the upper limb and one had a gunshot wound on the head. Two other persons were shot from the behind.

Rights violations

“Going by the postmortem reports, there is no clear demonstration that police were shooting to defend their lives or the lives of others.

“In two cases where police indicated in P23 forms that they were shooting to save their lives from the attackers, the supposed attackers were shot from the back, indicating little chances that they were confronting police with machetes,” Mr Kiama said.

The lobby, which has been vocal against extrajudicial killings, torture and other human rights violations, listed some of the most notable cases of excessive force meted on civilians— including six- month-old baby Samantha Pendo, Stephanie Moraa Nyarangi and other high school students who were not involved in any form of riot.

Apart from deaths, IMLU said, several other people were injured by police bullets, teargas and beatings.

“Fifty-one of those who were shot, tortured and assaulted by police are currently recuperating in different hospitals in Kisumu, Nairobi, Homa Bay and Migori counties,” IMLU said.

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