Enforced disappearances blot on security agencies


Police should be more proactive in solving cases. [Courtesy]

Two weeks after celebrating the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, cases of missing people continue to be reported.

No doubt, this is becoming cause for concern across the country. At the time of KDF’s invasion of Somali to flush out Al Shabaab insurgents in 2011, subsequent cases of disappearance, mainly at the Coast and in the northern part of Kenya where Al Shabaab and their sympathisers abound, could be attributed to security operations.

In recent cases, however, reported incidences of disappearances cut across the board and there is no evidence they have anything to do with terrorism. Notably, the youth and little girls continue to bear the brunt of disappearances. Girls of tender ages have become victims and their dead bodies are often found either dumped in rivers or in thickets.    

Pinpointing the exact causes of these disappearances is not easy. They could be as a result of terrorism, security operations, extra-judicial killings, mental illnesses or revenge by individuals who might have fallen out over deals.

To date, there is no plausible explanation for the exponential rise in the spate of disappearances. However, what is not in doubt is that lack of explanation for the disappearances and killings draws our collective attention towards the police service in whose province answers to such cases should be found.

When aggrieved relatives report that their kin were arrested by people in uniform, the assumption is that the police are involved. When the dead bodies of people who have disappeared are finally found but the police fail to get a single lead to their killers, they stand accused of ineptitude or cover-up.

Police should be more proactive in solving such cases. It is a shame that so many people have been killed or disappeared yet the police, despite their superior training and resources, cannot unravel the mysteries.

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