Kenya has been ranked top in Africa in cases of police shootings and extra-judicial killings of civilians according to a report by Amnesty International.

The report titled: The State of The World’s Human Rights 2016/2017, indicates that by October 2016, out of the 177 cases of extra-judicial killings in Africa, Kenya accounts for 122 of them.

According to the report, some of the abuses were committed by security agencies in the context of counter-terror operations, others by unaccountable police officers and other security agencies.

“Police used excessive and lethal force to disperse demonstrators calling for fair election practices. Political opposition, anti-corruption groups and other civil society activists, as well as journalists and bloggers, were harassed. Families in informal settlements and marginalized communities were forcibly evicted from their homes,” the report reads.

Case studies

The report cites a case in point the killing of Willie Kimani, a lawyer with a legal aid charity, his client Josphat Mwendwa and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri who were abducted in June last year at an unknown location.

The abduction happened after Willie Kimani and Josphat Mwendwa left Mavoko law courts in Machakos County after attending a hearing in the traffic offence case.

Their bodies were later found a week later found dumped in a river in Machakos County, where post mortems showed they had been tortured.

Later in September that year, four Administration Police officers were found guilty of murdering the three men.

The report also cites Job Omariba, a nurse in the eastern town of Meru was reported to have gone missing in Nairobi on August 21. His body was discovered at Machakos mortuary on 30 August.

Later that day, the Special Crime Prevention Unit arrested three police officers on suspicion of his abduction and murder.

On August 29, two policemen walked into Mwingi Level 4 Hospital and shot dead Ngandi Malia Musyemi, a hawker, after he reported to police that he had been carjacked. His sister witnessed the killing. Officers from Nairobi, Machakos and Embu were assigned to investigate the killing.

Police killings records

According to Amnesty, Kenya does not have an official database of police killings or enforced disappearances.

According to Haki Africa, a human rights group, there were 78 extra-judicial executions and enforced disappearances in Mombasa County in the first eight months of 2016.

The mass protests led by opposition politicians to eject the former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Commissioners also featured prominently in the report.

Excessive force

It indicates how the police used excessive and lethal force to disperse protesters in Nairobi and other towns during demonstrations against the IEBC.

In May last year, a male protester in Nairobi was shot and injured in a confrontation with police as residents from the informal settlement of Kibera tried to march to the IEBC offices.

In the same month, police used batons, tear gas, water cannons and, in some cases, live ammunition to disperse protesters marching towards the IEBC office.

A video showed three policemen kicking and beating a protester after he fell down and on the same day, at least two people were killed and 53 injured during a demonstration in the western city of Kisumu.

Among other pervasive issues, the report documents continuing torture and other ill-treatment, the failure to uphold sexual and reproductive rights, government surveillance, and a culture of impunity for past crimes.