Alvin Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe
“May last year, I was woken up by screams from my sister-in-law. I rushed out of the house and on the doorstep lay her brother, who was my husband. He was dead…”
The hopelessness, frustration and disappointment was evident as the teary 17-year-old mother to a one-year-old boy gave the harrowing tale of losing two partners in circumstances she suspects to be extrajudicial killing.
After the father of her baby was taken away, she settled down with another man, who she hoped would help her raise the child. Four months later, he, too, was killed.
And as the world celebrated the 2018 International Day of Enforced Disappearances yesterday, similar tales of pain and loss were recounted as friends and families joined hands in Nairobi to push the government to end extrajudicial killings.
“Hundreds of people are arrested every year in what is termed crime-busting police swoops, but many so-called suspects are never presented in court or charged with any crime. Instead, their bodies are usually recovered dumped in random places,” said Amnesty International East Africa, the Horn and Great Lakes director Joan Nyanyuki.
The marking of this year’s Day fete also saw the launch of a website which, according to Amnesty International’s Seif Magango, will help in sharing information on missing persons and those suspected to have died under unclear circumstances. Data from the website showed close to 153 cases of Kenyans who have disappeared while in police custody.
The website also alleges to have verified 285 killings by police officers, whereas 1,732 missing or killed Kenyans are yet to be confirmed. Kenya National Human Rights Commission’s Victor Kamau called for the prosecution of police officers who have been linked with the offences.
He asked the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett to lead his team in championing for the protection of human rights.
At the same time, a parent who claimed to have lost two sons to police bullets said no legal action has ever been taken against the officers despite reporting them.
She claimed one of the officers boasted that only the president can remove him from service.
Parents of the victims called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to “hear our cries and address the matter with the urgency required”. The mostly affected areas in Nairobi are Eastleigh, Dandora, Mathare and Kibera.