By John Ikani
A joint report by Amnesty International Kenya and 16 local NGO’s has indicated that cases of police brutality and enforced disappearances are on a steady increase in Kenya.
The report found 189 cases of police killings, as well as at least 30 people who have gone missing in police custody.
“We’re noticing a significant increase since 2020, and the numbers are steadily going up,” said the executive director of Amnesty International Kenya, Irũngũ Houghton.
“The new trend we’ve noticed is the enforced abduction and disappearances of suspected criminals, terrorists, or just everyday civilians. Some of them have been found dead in Yala river or in Siaya county among other places,” he added.
In response, a Kenyan government spokesperson said they are committed to abide by the rule of law and ensure that human rights are protected.
One woman, Anne Wanjiku Kariuki, who is pregnant with her third child, said the last time she saw her husband, he was being dragged through their home by suspected police officers in plain clothes.
They were searching for something but refused to tell her what it was. Her husband managed to mutter “I’m being arrested’” before he was taken away. He hasn’t been seen since.
“It’s been a month and two weeks since they took him. The children are asking where he is and why he was arrested. I don’t know what to do, or how to feel, I’m constantly wondering whether he is alive or not,” she said.
Humans rights activist David Kuria said that regional police officers have denied involvement in his disappearance.
Police violence and enforced disappearances have increased all over the continent of Africa in the last decade. In most cases, perpetrators get away without appropriate sanctions, dealing a blow to the relationship between law enforcement and the public.