Matiang'i, lobby groups sharply differ on police killings

Conflicting figures of causalities have been reported since Tuesday

On Saturday, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) told the press in Nairobi that already 24 causalities have been reported since Tuesday.

Ms Mbogori Kagwiria, KNCHR’s chairperson, said that the deaths have been in the post-election environment.

“We are concerned about the use of excessive force and we ask the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions to investigate these killings with a view to bringing the culprits to book,” Ms Kagwiria Mbogori, KNCHR chairperson, told a press briefing.

KNCHR said their monitors reported 17 deaths in Nairobi, two in Siaya and Migori counties, one each in Homa Bay, and another in Kisumu.

The Multi-Sectoral Forum, a grouping of religious leaders drawn from various faiths, put the figure of the dead at 18. At a press conference at Ufungamano House, the religious leaders said they were saddened by the deaths.

Earlier when quizzed by the press, acting Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang’i moved to quell fears that the police were killing people in Kisumu and Nairobi’s Kibera and Mathare slums, perceived to be National Super Alliance strongholds.  Dr Matiang’i said that “only three thugs who were trying to loot from people’s businesses had been killed.”

“Police have not used force on any peaceful demonstrator in this country. On the contrary, our security has faced criminal elements who are taking advantage of the situation to loot and destroy property,” said the CS.

Dr Matiang’i, however, admitted that insecurity incidents have been reported in Mathare and Kibera slums in Nairobi and some parts of Kisumu, but assured Kenyans that the situation is under control.

On Saturday, a 10-year-old identified as Moraa Nyarangi, was on the balcony of a flat when a stray bullet hit and killed her on the spot.

“The girl was on a balcony when she was hit by the stray bullet, this is in Mathare North area 2 next to soko mawe, Osiepe Bar,” a resident told the press.

Red Cross team leader Joe Mbalu (Mathare) said they attended to 23 people, most of who suffered “soft tissue injuries and broken bones”.

“We do not have an exact figure. About three people have spinal injuries. Many have broken bones and soft tissue injuries. We had two epileptic cases. There are others who had respiratory problems and that can be explained by the tear gas,” he said.

In Kisumu, at least three people died and scores were injured. The three were shot on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon as police officers tried to quell demonstrations.

Police said one of the victims died in Maseno while two were killed in Nyalenda slums. Security bosses fought back claims that at least 21 people were killed.

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