What you need to know:
- The three pictures have outraged human rights activists who have demanded the arrest of the officers involved.
- The pictures of the young men lying flat on their bellies, show a police officer with an assault rifle whipping them while his colleagues watch.
- The pictures were met with outrage in northern Kenya with human rights activists saying they were a confirmation of police brutality.
- Social media users took to Facebook and Twitter to condemn the police brutality under the #stoppolicebrutalityinNep banner.
Police are investigating the origin of pictures that appeared on social media showing officers whipping and walking over unidentified youths in Garissa County.
The three pictures have outraged human rights activists who have demanded the arrest of the officers involved.
Leaders and activists in north eastern Kenya took to social media to condemn the police actions.
The photos were posted on a Facebook page under the name Michael Orita whom sources said is a senior police officer in Garissa.
“These Somali young men came to Garissa for a purpose but little did they know we are smarter than them. Their scheme ended in court, we shall not relent on security issues. The public we need ua (sic) assistance,” read the post.
The user, when questioned by Facebook friends whether flogging was necessary, replied: “Force was necessary including using live ammunition to maintain law and order in the county”.
The pictures of the young men lying flat on their bellies, show a police officer with an assault rifle whipping them while his colleagues watch.
A police vehicle can be seen in the background.
Another picture shows an officer in plain clothes walking over the youth while his colleagues beat them.
Garissa Police Commander Shadrack Maithia said it was unethical and unprofessional for any security agent to humiliate civilians, whether suspects or not.
He said police were investigating the authenticity of the pictures and whether the person who posted them is a genuine member of the Kenya Police Service.
Asked whether there was an officer by the name of Micheal Orita, he said: “I am new in Garissa and I can’t for sure say whether I have such a person or not for now”.
CONDUCT PROBER INVESTIGATION
The county police commander said even if there was an officer by that name they could not conclusively say he was responsible without proper investigation.
He said people could create internet accounts under other peoples’ names and misuse them.
“Let’s be patient (and wait) for the investigations to establish where they were captured and whether they are genuine (or not) because what is seen in the pictures is wrong and it is against ethics and the code of conduct for any security force,” he said.
The pictures were met with outrage and anger in northern Kenya with human rights activists from the area saying they were a confirmation of the brutal force the security officers in the region were using against innocent civilians under guise of fighting terrorism.
“This is unacceptable and we demand that the Inspector-General of police investigates police brutality in Garissa.
“Many people are silently suffering in the hands of police officers,” Khalif Abdi, the coordinator of Northern Forum for Democracy told the Nation.
Social media users took to Facebook and Twitter to condemn the police brutality under the #stoppolicebrutalityinNep banner.