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Police reject as unfounded Haki Africa report on 81 extrajudicial killings and disappearances in Coast

By Cyrus Ombati | Published Thu, December 8th 2016 at 15:12, Updated December 8th 2016 at 15:32 GMT +3
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet. He said through his spokesman that some of the cases cited in the report include the killing of terror suspect Ismail Soshi on September 27 in a shootout in Mombasa. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

The National Police Service has dismissed as unfounded claims by civil society organization that police are behind extrajudicial killings and disappearance of 81 people in Coastal region in the past five years in the war on terrorism.

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said through his spokesman some of the cases cited in the report include the killing of terror suspect Ismail Soshi on September 27 in a shootout in Mombasa.

“The National Police Service rejects the allegations as based on unfounded distortions of real facts made for reasons made only known to themselves,” said Boinnet in a statement signed by spokesman George Kinoti.

He said some of the weapons recovered in the Soshi shooting incident were two rifles stolen earlier on from two police officers who had been murdered.

Kinoti said the case of Soshi casts doubts to the credibility of the report and Haki Africa itself as which side they support- Kenyan people or terrorist groups.

“We totally reject claims of religious profiling as we only focus on criminals irrespective of their religious affiliation. The national police will continue to exercise its mandate in accordance with the law without fear or favour,” added the statement.

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Haki Africa said Wednesday there are many other such killings and enforced 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 counterterrorism or other specialized units.

Khalid launched a report- What Do We Tell The Families?- detailing those killed in the said period.

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

“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.

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