Kenya: Authorities must stem communal violence and stop killings by police
The Kenyan government must take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions between communities, protect people and ensure their safety as opposition supporters protest against today’s Supreme Court verdict upholding President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election, said Amnesty International.
Following the verdict, violence broke out in opposition strongholds including the Mathare and Kibera slums in Nairobi, and Migori and Kisumu in western Kenya. The violence came after the Supreme Court dismissed the two petitions that sought to invalidate the outcome of the 28 October presidential election re-run. Initial reports said four people were killed in the clashes.
A witness told Amnesty International that groups of young men in Kondele, Kisumu, were carrying out house searches today, looking for ethnic Kikuyu residents, harassing them and looting their homes. He said three groups tried to enter his compound and that his neighbour’s gate was torn down and he and his family were forced to flee for their own safety. There were also media reports of an attempt by protesters to burn down Kondele Police Station.
“In the last days and months, the police have fired indiscriminately at crowds killing or injuring protesters. Kenya’s police have a duty to protect people from violence, but they must do so in a way that respects both national and international law. This election has caused enough bloodshed. No more lives should be needlessly lost due to excessive use of force by the police,” said Justus Nyang’aya, Country Director at Amnesty International Kenya.
Amnesty International has confirmed that at least six people, including a 29-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man were killed in Nairobi a day before the ruling, in attacks that opposition supporters blamed on the police and an alleged pro-government militia. While the police have denied responsibility, their investigations into the incidents are under way.
On Friday, at least five people were killed when the police indiscriminately shot into crowds of supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga, gathered to welcome him home from a trip to the USA.
“Now that President Uhuru Kenyatta has been declared the winner, his priority must be to rein in the violence and ensure that all Kenyans are protected and their rights respected. While police have a duty to maintain order, protesters must be allowed to freely and peacefully express themselves without fear of being shot at or harmed by the police,” said Justus Nyang’aya.
“While police have a duty to maintain order, protesters must be allowed to freely and peacefully express themselves without fear of being shot at or harmed by the police. They must respect the international law requirement not to use firearms except to defend themselves or others under imminent threat of death or serious injury.”
“If President Kenyatta is to succeed in healing the divisions generated by the polls, he must also ensure justice and accountability for the dozens of Kenyans killed or injured in the violence and as a result of excessive use of force by police that has marred this year’s election cycle.”
Dozens of people have been killed in election-related violence this year, at least 33 of them shot by the police.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jacob Kuehn, Press Officer, Amnesty International; +1 613 744 7667 x 236; firstname.lastname@example.org