Civil Society Groups want members of disbanded Special Service Unit brought to justice

Coast Civil Society Groups hold a media briefing at Pembe za Ndovu in Mombasa. The groups called for the investigations and prosecution of members of SSU./Joyce Jura


Coast Civil Society groups have called for the prosecution of members of the recently disbanded Special Service Unit, suspected of carrying out extrajudicial killings in the country.

Speaking in Mombasa, the Civil Society groups commended President William Ruto on disbanding the unit which they say was responsible for the disappearance and killings of a number of Kenyans.

“The presidential admission confirms previous our public statements that the Kenya government has been complicit in a policy of extrajudicial killings (EJEs) and enforced disappearances (EDs) or unwilling to stop police units responsible for the same,” said Coast Civil Society Network for Human Rights Chairperson Zedekiah Adika.

During the briefing, they called for the investigations and prosecutions of members of the SSU for their individual and command roles in extortion, abductions, kidnappings, torture, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances.

“We urge the Internal Affairs Unit of NPS to initiate investigations into the activities of the SSU and crimes committed immediately and to make strong recommendations to the Inspector General of Police and Director of Public Prosecutions to take action and seek justice and accountability,” Zedekiah added.

Fr Gabriel Dolan of Haki Yetu Organization said disbanding the killer police squad was not enough.

“Disbanding the assassination squad without establishing a commission of inquiry is a further injustice to victims and families. It will furthermore pave the way for the establishment of another secret, death squad. Let the truth be told and acknowledged,” said Fr Dolan.

The CSOs also demanded that the President make public the report submitted by the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) that triggered the disbandment of the SSU.

“Between January 2022 to September, 107 people have been killed by the police and 10 disappeared. In 2021, 219 people were killed or disappeared by police. Out of 219, 187 were as a result of police killings and 32 disappeared in police custody. In 2020 158 people were killed and 10 disappeared. In 2019 a total of 154 people were killed,” said the CSOs.