Report reveals number of people killed by police in first 10 days of curfew

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020 14:33 |
A police officer confronts a man when implementing the curfew. Photo/File

At least six people died from police brutality and violence during the first 10 days of Kenya’s dusk-to-dawn curfew to contain the spread of Covid-19, a human rights watchdog has revealed.

A research by Human Rights Watch (HRW) narrates that police used excessive force, without any justification, shot and beat people at markets or returning home from work, even before the daily start of the curfew.

This led to the death of at least six people and leaving many others injured.

Additionally, security officers tasked to enforce the curfew also broken into homes and shops, extorted money from residents or looted food at various towns and markets across the country.

As such, HRW wants the government to urgently investigate instances in which police shot, beat, or abused people, killing or seriously injuring them, and hold those responsible to account.

“It is shocking that people are losing their lives and livelihoods while supposedly being protected from infection,” said Otsieno Namwaya, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Police brutality isn’t just unlawful; it is also counterproductive in fighting the spread of the coronavirus,” Namwaya added.

The research was carried between March 29 and April 14 involving phone interviews with 26 witnesses, relatives, and victims of abuses related to the curfew in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale, Busia, Kakamega, Mandera, and Homa Bay counties.

However, the lobby group has lamented Kenya’s long held history of police use of excessive force during law enforcement operations, either in informal settlements or in response to demonstrations, often resulting in unnecessary deaths.

For instance, in February, the Organisation documented eight cases of police killings, six of them during peaceful protests.

One was in Majengo against the police killing of a 24-year-old man and another in Kasarani against the poor condition of roads in Nairobi’s low-income neighborhoods of Majengo, Kasarani, and Mathare.

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