Police brutality rampant in Lamu, says KNHCR

Police brutality rampant in Lamu, says KNHCR

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Police officers beating up youth in Yumbis, Garissa. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Lamu, KENYA: The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights-KNCHR have stated that matters of police brutality, land injustices and drugs will form the basis of their report following the conclusion of a public inquiry on insecurity and enjoyment of human rights in Lamu.

The committee is expected to compile a detailed report on the matter which shall then be submitted to President Uhuru Kenyatta and parliamentary committees for action.

The committee said major issues that have been noted to be of concern at the coast with Lamu included are matters of land,criminal gangs in Mombasa,clashes between pastoralists and farmers in Tana River and major allegations of police brutality.

For the past one month the KNCHR has been criss-crossing the coastal counties of Mombasa,Kwale,Tana River and Lamu in pursuit of finding out how insecurity had impacted on and led to gross violation of human rights.

Speaking shortly after conclusion of the inquiry in Lamu on Monday ,KNCHR chair Kagwiria Mbogori said the issue of police violating human rights had largely dorminated most of the commission’s sittings.

“In Lamu we have received very disturbing incidents of torture. A number of people have been arrested and incarcerated without charges being pressed for more than three months. For that time,many have reported having been tortured in the detention cells,”said Mbogori.

She said the commission was also regrettably aware that there were detention centers in some of the coastal counties where torture is actively taking place.

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The commission boss said security had greatly affected businesses,employment and caused a lot of frustrations and depression among locals.

“We have also received reports of aggressive use of drugs and drug trafficking and drug cartels at the coast.in some incidents we have had police being seriously implicated in the war on drugs.security agencies have become accomplices and agents of drug cartels instead of bringing the entire menacto a stop,”said Mbogori.

Independent Police Oversight Authorty-IPOAcommissioner Vincent Kiptoo said police misconduct was rampant at the coast and said they had reports that police were quite involved in drug dealing,a factor he said greatly compromises investigations and the entire war on drugs.

“We have also noted that security agencies who employ outlawed investigative methods in their work that don’t conform to the international human rights standards,”said Kiptoo.

He said there were heavy allegations of officers using vehicles without number plates or vehicles whose plates have been concealed while conducting investigations and making arrests.

“The journey towards human rights compliance should be embraced by all security agencies and IPOA will be working towards ensuring police reduce the level of professional misconduct in order to enhance practices that conform with international human rights standards and operate within the country’s legal framework,”he added.