Police fingerprints all over extrajudicial killings report – KNCHR

The Big Question
The Big Question

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) has claimed that the recently released report on cases of human rights violation and extrajudicial killings has police fingerprints all over it.

Speaking on Citizen TV’s The Big Question, KNCHR CEO Patricia Nyaundi said instead of rubbishing the report released last week, the police should launch investigations and take action against officers implicated in the report.

“We expect the police to act on the report and take action against officers accused of extrajudicial killings instead of passing the buck,” she said.

“The police service should adhere to Article 244 of the Constitution which highlights the objectives and functions of the National Police Service Commission.”

Police Spokesman Charles Owino, however, said it was unfair for the commission to carry out and publish the report without proper inquiry into the claims saying the report will create mistrust between the police and the public.

“As much as they (KNCHR) have a role to carry out their duties, they should do so in a proper way. The report amounts to radicalisation of people and pits the public against the police,” said Owino.

He, however, refused to disregard the findings in the report until the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) carries out its investigations, but pointed out at the possibility that most of the youth reported missing could be in Somalia.

Owino said: “We have the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) and we have invited them to carry out investigations into the report.”

“We are not dismissing disappearance of people but we are aware of radicalisation and most of those reported missing could have gone to Somalia,” he said.

The KNCHR CEO also differed with Owino that the police couldn’t thwart all crimes, saying it is their responsibility to ensure Kenyans are safe.

“It is unacceptable for the police to claim they cannot be everywhere every time. It is the role of security agencies to ensure safety of Kenyans,” she said.

She admitted to having had a meeting with the National Police Service Commission regarding the report though there had been no communication on the matter.

“I would assume that the reason they have not reverted on the matter is because investigations are still on-going or they are still deliberating on the matter,” said Nyaundi.

According to the preliminary report, there has been 120 cases of human rights violation in the last year, including 25 extrajudicial killings and 81 enforced disappearing, with the cases being linked to security agencies including the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), National Intelligence Service (NIS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), county commissioners, chiefs and Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU).

The discussion was centred on the national police service and the recent reports of discovery of mass graves in Mandera.

The police spokesman said they had received reports that a woman’s body had been found in Mandera and that there were suspicions there were many more, promoting them to seek orders that would facilitate a thorough search.

“The lady whose body was found had been reported missing on November 4th and on November 5th herders trampled on her body which was half buried,” he noted.

“A senior political leader tweeted yesterday (Monday) the discovery of mass graves in Mandera and attributed it to enforced disappearances. Fortunately the OCS was called and the body transferred to Garissa hospital for post-mortem,” he said.

“Because there were claims that here were other bodies in other areas we sought for a court order and were allowed to search for the same in about nine places, but we did not find any bodies.”

Nyaundi said: “When we heard the claims of mass graves in Mandera, we went to seek verification. So far only one body has been discovered,” she said.

“It is also emerging that a number of families have come forward to state that their persons have disappeared and there is no clue where they could be.”

She defended the Human Rights report saying: “People have been picked from their homes never to be seen again and if they resurface they say they were tortured.”

“Our report was based on the fact that the people who disappeared or were killed were arrested by people who in some cases are positively identified as police officers where in other cases they are identified as people wearing military uniforms.”

Nyaundi said the commission would wait on the on-going search in Mandera to confirm whether the mass graves claims were true or not.

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