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Kenya police behind killings and disappearance of 81 people in Coast over terror war: Haki Africa

By Cyrus Ombati | Published Wed, December 7th 2016 at 15:27, Updated December 7th 2016 at 16:07 GMT +3
A group of people protesting against the killings of lawyer Willie Kimani and two others. Haki Africa says Kenya police are behind extrajudicial killings and disappearance of 81 people in Coast over war on terror. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

A civil society organization has accused police of being behind the extrajudicial killings and disappearance of 81 people in Coastal region in the past five years in the war on terrorism.

Haki Africa said there are many other such killings and forced disappearances that remain undocumented for various reasons.

"Although there are many other cases that have been reported to us or that we have come across, it is these cases that we are able to confirm details of," said the agency's director Hussein Khalid.

He said available evidence on the incidents suggests the vast majority of likely perpetrators in the period between 2012 and 2016 are police officers from counter terrorism or other specialized units.

Khalid launched a report- What Do We Tell The Families?- detailing those killed in the said period.
Police said they would study the report first before commenting.

The report say although most victims in the list are youths, there are also sheikhs, imams and preachers some of them over 50 years.

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"The common thread is that all victims are Muslims, all fall into the category of being perceived by authorities to be actual or potential terror suspects- a label increasingly nebulous and ill defined given that every killing and disappearance has been carried out outside of any known legal framework."

The report says locals perceive themselves as victims of a form of collective punishment meted out by agencies on behalf of government, which has eroded trust between the two entities.

The report says authorities have failed to conduct investigations into the killings and disappearances and there is no official confirmation of the identity of the perpetrators.

It says there were 22 deaths as a result of excessive use of force in police operations, four deaths in police custody, 31 extrajudicial executions and 24 enforced disappearances.

The 24 people who disappeared are cases where individuals have gone missing and were last known to have been in police custody.

The report calls for clarification from the state on who has been killed or disappeared by the agents since April 2012, any action taken on the agents, where the bodies are and what steps taken to investigate them.

"The Kenyan government must furthermore clarify whether there is or has ever been in existence a shoot to kill or political assassination counter terrorism policy- formal or informal amongst the security operatives," it says.
It also wants the policy to stop forthwith and those behind it be punished with apologies and reparations for the families of victims.

The report says Haki Africa conducted the research between September 2013 and November 2016 interviewing relatives of the victims, witnesses, government officials and senior government officials. This was the time when the war on terrorism in the country had been heightened.

Chairman of Independent Policing Oversight Authority Macharia Njeru received the report and vowed to push a probe on the details to ensure justice for the victims.
Njeru blamed police leadership for the trend saying those in charge are condoning impunity among police officers.

"Don't make statements on transformative leadership in the service when you are doing the opposite. Adhere to the rule of law because we are a democracy and cannot break the laws while implementing the same," he said.
He termed as nonsense and rubbish to police alibies on shooting dead of protesters pelting them with stones.

"To me that is murder to cases where police aim bullets at people pelting them with stones," he said.
He also told police authorities to prepare adequately ahead of the 2017 general elections.

Among those listed as a victim include Samir Hashim Khan who we went missing on April 10, 2012 at the Tsavo National Park, Mohamed Bekhit Kassim on the same day in Mombasa whose body is yet to be found.
Salim Abubakar, Stephen Mwanzia Osaka and Omar Shwaib's bodies are yet to be found after he disappeared on June 26, 2012 in Mombasa. They had been linked to the March 2012 bombing at the Machakos Country Bus stop in Nairobi.

Preacher Aboud Rogo who died on August 27, 2012 in Mombasa is also listed among those who were killed in an extrajudicial manner.
Others are Titus Nabiswa, Omar Faraj who went missing on October 29, 2012 in Mombasa, Badru Mramba,

Shabaan Makotse, Khalid Ahmed, Kassim Omollo, Salim Mohamed Nero, Sheikh Ibrahim Ismail, Issa Abdalla, Gadaffi Mohamed, Omar Abu Rumeisa, Suleiman Seif Mabruk, Katana Gona and Iman Mwayuyu.