Interior CS Kindiki refutes claims of police brutality

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki. [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has refuted claims of employing extrajudicial killings and excessive force by the police to handle anti-government protests.

In a statement on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, Kindiki refuted the reports regarding police harassment, dismissing them as false and malicious attempts to distort public opinion.

"Claims that National Police Service (NPS) officers and other law enforcement personnel are engaged in extrajudicial executions and/or excessive use of force against the public or any section thereof are malicious, false, and intended to distort public opinion regarding the recent orgy of violence that took place in some parts of the country," said Kindiki.

He said investigative agencies were analyzing evidence in their possession to prosecute planners, executors, and financiers of the protests.

"Investigative and Intelligence agencies are analyzing solid evidence in their possession, which evidence is adequate to prosecute the key planners, executors, and financiers of large-scale arson, violent robberies, and destruction of infrastructure, as well as death and injury of civilians and security personnel," he said.

Kindiki's statement comes even as Interior PS Raymond Omollo reported that 305 officers were injured, with 156 assaults documented during the protests.

In addition, Omollo stated that 859 shops were broken into, and 199 buildings were destroyed amid the unrest.

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leaders and civil society organizations condemn the police brutality on peaceful protesters.

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has since announced the suspension of Wednesday's protests to hold a vigil for victims who have died as a result of police brutality.

Odinga asked supporters to light candles in remembrance of the victims.

"We are calling Kenyans to come out and light candles and lay flowers in remembrance of and respect for the victims. During the vigils, candle lighting, and laying of flowers, we encourage Kenyans to say prayers and read out the names of the victims of police brutality. We shall provide the list of the victims in time for the exercise," he said in a statement.

According to the coalition, at least 50 deaths have been reported so far, with hundreds of others being injured and admitted to hospitals with grave injuries.

The coalition has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open investigations on the conduct of police officers during the protests.

President William Ruto has cautioned police officers against killing anti-government protesters and instead urged them to be firm but handle lawbreakers professionally.

Ruto has, however, commended police officers for their efforts to quell protests in several parts of the country.

"I am pleased with the work police have done ensuring peace by taking actions against all criminals and ensuring government and private properties are protected," he said.

He warned that no one was above the law and the government was committed to protecting lives and businesses.

"Everybody must follow the law. The government shall not sit back and watch the country turn into chaos, no one should introduce impunity because of some individuals' selfish gains," he said.

The announcement came amid pressure from the international community and church leaders for the coalition to call off the protests and give dialogue a chance.