Human Rights Watch calls for probe over post-poll killings

Kibera protests

The Human Rights Watch is now calling on the Kenya government to conduct speedy investigations into the post-election protests that saw at least 12 people killed and 100 others injured as a result of what they termed as excessive force by police officers.

While calling on the government to ensure that the specific officers who violated human rights are brought to justice, Otsieno Namwaya, Africa Researcher at the Human Rights Watch, pointed out that the pattern of violence and repression witnessed in the opposition strongholds of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and parts of Nairobi County undermined the August 8 polls.

“The brutal crackdown on protesters and residents in the western counties, part of a pattern of violence and repression in opposition strongholds, undermined the national elections,” said Namwaya

“People have a right to protest peacefully, and Kenyan authorities should urgently put a stop to police abuse and hold those responsible to account.”

A nine-year-old, Moraa Nyarangi, was killed in Mathare after she was reportedly hit by a stray bullet while seven-month-old Samantha Pendo succumbed to head injuries in  a Kisumu hospital after being allegedly hit by police officers at their home as police moved to quell post poll-protests.

The international human rights body now said that it conducted a research during and after the election in western Kenya and found that many people who died in the region were killed by security forces.

Actions against protesters included “unlawful killings and beatings by police during protests and house-to-house operations”, HRW said, adding there were at least three cases where women alleged police had raped them.

Namwaya said investigations must be carried out and responsible officers prosecuted. So far the government has denied using excessive force against protesters.

“With tensions still running high as the country awaits the court’s decision on the opposition’s petition, Kenyan authorities need to be vigilant in preventing more police abuses and upholding the right to peaceful protest,” Namwaya said.

“Kenyans should be able to express their grievances without being beaten or killed by police.”

This was after National Super Alliance (NASA) supporters staged protests in opposition strongholds immediately after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared President Uhuru Kenyatta winner of the August 8 General Election, demonstrations that Human Rights Watch claim were brutally suppressed.

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