Mombasa activists: Rein in murderous police officers

Members of civil society jointly hold candles in remembrance of victims during the International Day of the Disappeared at the Komblenz Hall, Mombasa, yesterday. [PHOTO: GIDEON MAUNDU/ STANDARD]

MOMBASA: Coast-based human rights groups are demanding that action be taken against security officers involved in extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances.

They lamented that despite the promise of the 2010 Constitution, rights violations, extra-judicial killings and torture by State agents remain prevalent in Kenya.

Catholic priest Father Gabriel Dolan said "more people die (in Kenya) at hands of police than at the hands of robbers" and called for the removal of Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery.

"The Constitution that was passed by Kenyans six years ago has been trashed by the Government every single day," said Dolan, who cited Human Rights Watch, Open Society and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) showing that 34 people have gone missing in Wajir County this year.

According to a joint Open Society and Muslims for Human Rights report released mid this year, 30 people arrested by police for interrogation in Mombasa were never freed. And a report by KNCHR shows 81 people disappeared without a trace while in police custody.

The groups acting under Coast Civil Society want the President to address rising police involvement in murder of civilians, kidnappings and disappearances of lawyers and rights advocates. They also want him to speak about the recent killing of Form Two student Tony Katana in Mombasa and Hemed Salim Hemed, who disappeared after being arrested at Musa Mosque on February 2, 2014.

On Friday, they will hold demonstrations in Mombasa streets over police killings. Haki Africa issued a statement yesterday notifying police of the demonstration against Katana's killing on August 13 and murder of 16-year-old Salim Abubakar in Mishomoroni, Mombasa, which has been blamed on police.

Kisauni Deputy OCPD Walter Abondo claims Katana was among gangsters who attacked police with a machete but witnesses say he was killed by trigger-happy police officers.

Besides unveiling new victims of disappearances blamed on security agents, the activists accused Kenya Defence Forces fighting terrorists in Lamu of operating a "mini Guantanamo Bay" in Baragoni, where they claimed US and Kenyan agents subject suspects to simulated drowning or waterboarding.

While marking the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances yesterday, the activists asked the National Assembly to debate the Anti-Torture Bill and Coroners Bill to expand citizens' rights and combat arbitrary arrests and murder.