Extrajudicial killings still cause for worry as lobbies push for justice

police brutality protest

Members of the public march in the Nairobi central business district during a demonstration against police brutality, as Saba Saba Day was marked, on July 7, 2021.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Spme 132 people were killed by police officers on duty while 20 disappeared forcefully in 2022, a report by Missing Voices says, highlighting the persistence of the issue of extrajudicial killings.

However, the report by a variety of human rights organisation, that was released on Friday, indicated a drop of 31.5 per cent, with a total of 219 cases recorded.

Addressing residents of Yala town together with other stakeholders, International Justice Mission (IJM) Director Benson Shamala called on authorities to make the perpetrators accountable.

“This year’s report, dubbed "Accountability now", is seeking to push the concerned authorities to act and make the perpetrators accountable.

"We cannot have a total of 152 people being killed by the police, who are paid with the tax payers’ money to over services,” said Mr Shamala.

He added: “We are calling for accountability and justice for victims like William Mayange, a Maseno University student who was killed by police during demonstration Monday this week."

IJM director Benson Shamala

Benson Shamala, the Kenya director of the International Justice Mission,  during the launch of a booklet on mental health and psychosocial support within the criminal justice system, in Nairobi on March 14, 2023.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

They also called upon the Independent Police Oversight Authority (Ipoa) to speed up the investigations and take stern actions against those culpable.

The report also revealed that Pangani police station had the highest number of police killings in the year 2022, where 11 people lost their lives in the hands of the police officers - a drop from the previous 32 cases.

“There is a drop in the number of people dying in the hands of the police at Pangani police station. This is partly due to the rigorous campaigns by Missing Voices that saw some 19 officers transferred to other areas,” added Mr Shamala.

Kayole and Kahawa police stations in Nairobi and Nakuru counties were second and third in the ranking, recording five and three cases, respectively.

Mr Shamala also noted that 2022 saw a significant improvement in the delivery of justice to victims such as human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, Josphat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri. However, it called for speedy action by the courts to ensure other cases are heard and determined.

“We saw significant stride in the delivery of justice. However, there are some cases that we want to see heard and determined for the victims and the bereaved families to get justice,” he said.

The report on the police killings and forced disappearance comes a year after unidentified bodies were retrieved from River Yala taken to Yala Sub-County mortuary and marked unidentified.

“This report has excluded some 40 bodies that were retrieved from River Yala in the year 2022,” noted Mr Shamala.

Deputy Director Of Public Prosecution Jecinter Nyamosi, who graced the occasion, said the office of Mr Noordin Hajji is commited to ensuring justice is served to all.

“The ODPP is working together with all the stakeholders to ensure investigations and that cases are heard before the courts and determined. In cases where witnesses need protection we have offered and subsequently delivered on that,” she said.