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IPOA investigating if police killed baby, young girl during demos

Agovernment watchdog will investigate whether police killed a baby and a young girl during a crackdown on post-election demonstrations this week.

The parents of six-month-old Samantha Pendo said she was asleep in her mother’s arms when she was teargassed and clubbed by police who invaded their home in Kisumu looking for protesters.

Eight-year-old Stephanie Moraa was shot by a stray bullet as police fired to disperse protesters in the Nairobi slum of Mathare.

Read: Six month-old baby clobbered by police during Kisumu protests dies

“The Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) has sent out teams of high level investigators to investigate the deaths of young Stephanie Moraa and baby Samantha Pendo,” the authority said on its Twitter feed on Wednesday.

The watchdog was created in 2011, after police came under severe criticism for the number of protesters killed during demonstrations against disputed elections in 2007.

The most recent spate of demonstrations came after opposition leader Raila Odinga disputed official figures showing the President Uhuru Kenyatta had won last week’s presidential vote by a margin of 1.4 million votes.

Raila said the results were false, triggering scattered demonstrations in his stronghold of Kisumu and slums in Nairobi.

IPOA did not say whether it was investigating the death of 18-year-old student Silus Lebo. Witnesses said he was pulled out from under a bed and beaten by police in the street. He died the next day.

Extrajudicial killings by police are extremely common in Kenya but officers are rarely prosecuted. In October,Daily Nation published a database showing 262 such killings since 2015. Police usually say the dead are criminals.

Also read: Cops to be charged for killings, brutality – IPOA

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IPOA investigating if police killed baby, young girl during election demos