Amnesty International asks Kenya to act on JKUAT police brutality

A human rights body has urged Kenyan authorities to investigate the brutality meted on university students protesting over increased insecurity.

Amnesty International Kenya called for changes in methods used to restore calm in universities saying that the approach should break the cycle of violent policing that has been synonymous with riot control.

“Violent policing during public demonstrations must stop,” said Amnesty Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director Irungu Houghton in a statement.

He added that “officers who break their code of office must be held individually guilty of misconduct, sanctioned and made to compensate victims”.

Officers deployed on Monday to disperse protesting students of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), have been heavily criticised over the use excessive force.

The students were protesting insecurity in the university and its environs. They claimed knife-wielding criminals ambush them in the evening at around 6pm and rob them of cash, phones and laptops.

The University’s Student Association through a memo on Sunday had directed the students to assemble for a peaceful demonstration, which turned chaotic.

Videos making rounds on social media show some students engaging in running battles with the police officers. The police on other hand lobbed teargas and bludgeoned the students.

The university has been closed indefinitely.

The Interior CS, Fred Matiangí, has vowed to take action against officers found culpable of using excessive force on students.

Matiang’i said he had spoken to Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai and agreed that, within the next 24 hours, firm and decisive action shall be taken against any officer who used excessive force.

He said he had observed the events at JKUAT with profound concern and that the use of force by police is clearly outlined in the National Police Standing Orders.

Amnesty International Kenya has welcomed this move and urged other relevant bodies to commence investigations.

“We call upon the Internal Affairs Unit of the NPS (National Police Service), the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) to commence the investigations into the cause of the violence.”