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Lobby accuses police of rights abuse after polls

The presidential poll was marred by human rights violations, including unlawful killings and beatings by the police during protests and house-to-house operations, an international organisation has said.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the police used excessive force by shooting and beating protesters in Nairobi, the Coast and counties in Nyanza region — Kisumu, Siaya, Migori and Homa Bay.

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CRACKDOWN

The demonstrations followed the announcement of President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner.

“The brutal crackdown on protesters and residents in the counties, part of a pattern of violence and repression in opposition strongholds, undermined the national elections,” Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch Otsieno Namwaya said.

EXCESSIVE FORCE
The group said police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters, who reciprocated by pelting them with stones and other objects, blocking roads with stones and burning tyres on roads.

“On August 11 and 12, police carried out house-to-house operations.

“Residents said the police asked for any men in the house and beat or shot them. Police also fired tear gas canisters and water cannons in residential areas.”

PROTESTS

Human Rights Watch said it confirmed through multiple sources that police killed at least 10 people, including a six-month-old baby, in Kisumu County alone.

“In neighbouring Siaya County, police fatally shot a protester near Siaya Town and beat a 17-year-old boy to death on the outskirts of Ugunja, as they pursued crowds of protesters into the villages,” the group said.

“People have a right to protest peacefully, and Kenyan authorities should urgently put a stop to abuse by the police and hold those responsible to account,” Mr Nyamwaya said.

LIVE BULLETS

Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on several occasions denied claims that the police used live bullets or excessive force against protesters.

He blamed criminals for the looting that occurred.

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