Hawkers in Nairobi during a past protest against what they termed as extrajudicial killings by city council askaris and police on their members. FILE PHOTOHawkers in Nairobi during a past protest against what they termed as extrajudicial killings by city council askaris and police on their members. FILE PHOTO
By SILAS APOLLO

Kenya has been ranked the leading country in Africa in cases of police shooting and killing of civilians, a report by Amnesty International shows.

The report indicates that by October last year, a total of 122 police killings had been reported in Kenya out of 177 cases in Africa.

The figures, however, could have been higher were it not for lack of official database of police killings or enforced disappearances, says the report.

This puts Kenya ahead of 14 African nations of Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia, which also recorded cases of police harassment and killings.

However, the 14 ranked high on violation of freedom of expression as well as the arrest and detention of members of opposition parties and groups.

In the 2016/17 report released on Thursday, a majority of the cases were witnessed in the coastal region, with most conducted under the guise of combating terrorism and the terror group Al-Shabaab.

EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS

“Security forces carried out enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture with impunity,” says the report.

“According to Haki Africa, there were 78 extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances in Mombasa County in the first eight months of 2016,” adds the report.

Other abuses were committed by unaccountable police officers and security agencies, says the report.

Police and other investigating agencies have also been implicated for turning a blind eye to reported violation cases, leading to more killings.

“In the context of counter-terrorism operations targeting Al-Shabaab, security agencies were implicated in human rights violations including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and torture,” it says.

HIGH PROFILE KILLINGS

The report says some of the high profile killings by police included that of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josphat Mwendwa and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri, who were abducted last year in June and their bodies later found dumped in a river in Machakos County.

Mr Mwendwa, a boda boda rider, had accused an Administration Police officer of attempted murder.

Mr Job Omariba, a nurse in Meru, was also reported to have gone missing in Nairobi last August. His body was later found at the Machakos mortuary.

Three police officers were arrested on suspicion of his abduction and murder. And on August 29, two policemen walked into Mwingi Level 4 Hospital and shot dead Mr Ngandi Musyemi, a hawker.

Besides deaths and imprisonment, human rights defenders and journalists also faced physical assaults, intimidation and harassment.

This followed the introduction of the Kenya Information and Communication Act that saw at least 13 people prosecuted on accusations of abuse of speech and indecency.