Police blamed for extrajudicial killings of 21 men and boys in Nairobi slums
Police in Nairobi have been blamed for the killings of 21 men and boys between August 2018 and June this year.
This is according to a report titled Nairobi Police Executing Suspects released on July 3, 2019 by Human Rights Watch.
In the report, the human right body also states that the 21 victims were from Nairobi’s low-income areas and that the police allegedly killed them without justification, claiming they were criminals.
All the 21 men and boys were killed in Nairobi’s Dandora and Mathare neighborhoods alone.
According to human rights activists in those neighborhoods, based on the cases they know about and those reported in the media, police have unlawfully killed many more in the past year.
The report also points explains that these extrajudicial killings are a broader problem of police using excessive, unlawful force in the name of maintaining law and order in Nairobi’s informal settlements and failing to comply with the law in ensuring all police killings are reported, investigated and those responsible for unlawful killings prosecuted.
“Police are arresting unarmed people and then gunning them down and neither the police service nor its watchdog agency is doing much to stop it,” Otsieno Namwaya from Africa Researcher at Human Rights Watch was quoted in the report.
“The authorities should promptly investigate these cases and hold to account any police officer responsible for unlawful use of force,” she added.
The report has also mentioned some of the killings of the young men between August 2018 and June 2019.
One instance happened on April 14, as quoted in the report, when police officers shot dead Kevin Gitau, 25, who was due to travel out of the country to take up a job offer in the Middle East, according to his family members. Then on April 17, police shot dead six men in Mlango Kubwa area.
One of the six was a 17-year-old boy, according to staff at a community rights organization in Mathare, who have been documenting the killings and offering psychosocial support to relatives of victims.
Under Kenyan and international law, the police should only intentionally use lethal force when it is strictly unavoidable to protect life.