Police shot dead 1,738 people in five years

Over 60 per cent of about 1,800 people killed in gun-related incidents in the last five years were shot by police, a new report has revealed.

This means that you are more likely to be shot dead by a police officer than a robber. Thugs killed only 13.9 per cent (135) of the 1,873 victims between 2009 and last year, says the report by Independent Medico Legal unit (IMLU).

IMLU implicated law enforcement officers as the as major cause of homicides and suicides in the country attributing them to shooting 67 per cent of the 1,873 victims who died due to gun related incidences in the last five years.

According to the report, the National Police Service led by Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo do not record their reason for shooting or the circumstances under which they were involved in the shootout.

"More than 60 per cent of the cases go without them giving reasons why a victim was shot or the circumstances under which the officer drew the fire arm. It is a cliche that we hear that the suspects shot at us and our boys shot back or a suspect drew a gun at our officers," said Eric Thuo of IMLU and one of the officers who conducted the survey.

Moreover, police are said to have been the cause of more than 72 per cent of suicides attributing to 17 deaths and 71.4 accidental firearm deaths.

Unspecified circumstances for deaths are the highest in the tally with 1,176 people having their lives cut short. The report also indicates that in 1,264 cases, the police did not give reasons for shooting a person. Young men between the ages of 20 and 29 are the major victims of gun deaths.

"Seven people were killed accidentally in this study. Majority of the victims were male, killed by law enforcement agents. Five were killed by a single bullet, one person by two bullets while one unique case had 12 bullets. Documents of this particular death did not reconstruct the circumstances," the report read in part.

The report indicated that more than 86 per cent of deaths from gunshots in the last five years happened in Nairobi, accounting for 1,611 deaths between 2009 and 2013. The major areas in the city that registered an increased trend in gunshot death cases are Kilimani, Shauri Moyo, Kayole and Kasarani.

It further revealed that a person is likely to be shot on Sunday than any other day of the week with 330 people losing their lives on this day. This accounts for 17 per cent of the 1,873 deaths.

The report also indicated that, at least 350 deaths reported yearly are gun related with the peak occurrence in 2010, at 385 deaths, adding that homicide is the second leading cause of death after road traffic.

The Standard
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