Eleven killed, 30 injured in dusk-to-dawn curfew ‘police terror’

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 00:00 |
A police officer stands next to Mombasa residents who were rounded up on March 27, 2020, just hours before the start of the nationwide curfew to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Photo/PD/FILE

Eleven people have been killed while another 30 people have been injured by law enforcement agencies in the last one month of the national curfew.

The Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) yesterday said they had monitored and documented 41 cases of torture, cruel and inhuman treatment between March 27 and April 26.

“In none of the cases was the life of any police officer under threat, nor that of another person.

Sadly, the police conduct has led to the killing of half as many persons as have been killed by the Covid-19,” IMLU’s Executive Director Peter Kiama said.

According to IMLU, Busia recorded the highest number of cases (11) followed by Nairobi (9), Kajiado (7), Kakamega (5), Nakuru (5) and Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Homa Bay recording one each.

“Postmortem reports from seven deaths reviewed by IMLU indicate one victim died from gunshot wounds and the rest from police torture and ill treatment,” Kiama said.

“The circumstances of the death indicate a clear dereliction of duty by the police to protect life and abide by the law,” he added.

Kiama warned that the actions of the police officers during the curfew point to a clear contravention of Article 26 on the right to life.

“Extortion, threats, intimidation, and use of quarantine as a punitive measure have replaced the tear gas guns and batons seen in the initial phase of the curfew,” IMLU said.

Out of the 41 cases, 33 were males while the other eight were females.

In one of the cases on March 30, Yassin Hussein Moyo, a Class Eight pupil was shot dead in Kiamako by police officers said to be attached to Huruma Police Station.

IMLU commended the commitment of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Internal Affairs in investigating cases of police officers involved in these egregious violation of human rights.

“We ask the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to provide full cooperation to the IPOA investigations concerning officers accused of violating the rights and fundamental freedom of citizens including provision of deployment records and those who are in command of the units that violated the citizens’ rights,” he said.

Violation of human rights 

Already, IMLU has forwarded eight petitions to IPOA to investigate. “We urge IPOA to expedite the investigations and bring all concerned officers to book,” Kiama said

Last week, the Chairman of the National Police Service Commission chairman Eliud Kinuthia warned that police officers involved in criminal or disciplinary misconduct will not be interdicted but instead dismissed from the service.

IMLU yesterday warned that officers continued to violate citizens’ rights in the same scale and magnitude as the initial days of the curfew, albeit more subtle, yet, not less injurious to the rights and fundamental freedoms

 “County commanders of police should ensure that all victims of police violence, extortion and bribery are accorded a safe environment to record their complaints.

We also urge all citizens to adhere to the guidelines of the ministry of health and WHO as part of the national effort to prevent further infections and defeat this global pandemic,” IMLU said.

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