Police should not have used live bullets and crude weapons on Kenyans who demonstrated after elections, a group of women advocating peace in Kisumu has said.
The Community Advocacy and Awareness Trust (Crawn) accused officers of using excessive force during protests that left several people injured and others dead.
The group highlighted the violation of women and children’s rights.
“Women here have narrated what they went through during the raid by police on Friday,” leader Dorothy Awino told the press on Wednesday.
Reports indicate that 14 of 47 victims of police brutality sustained gunshot wounds. There were also reports that several women and girls were sexually abused by officers who conducted house-to-house raids.
Some of the estates affected include Manyatta, Nyalenda, Kondele, Carwash, Obunga and Nyamasaria among others.
Among those who died was six-month old Samantha Pendo. Her parents 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.
Read: IPOA investigating if police killed baby, young girl during election demos
The peace ambassadors called on women and youths to embrace peace for the sake of unity and development in the country.
“It is high time we chose peace and shunned the speculation that jeopardises peaceful co-existence,” Awino said.
She also asked politicians and other leaders not to issue remarks that could trigger or fuel violence.
Peace ambassador Norah Otieno said they are conducting campaigns to restore unity.
“We have identified people to talk to the county police commander and county commissioner to highlight extreme cases of violence against residents and advise on the way forward.”
She added they will reach out to people in hot spots and educate them on peaceful solutions to conflict, with the help of identified stakeholders.
Manyatta B MCA-elect Pamela Odhiambo condemned attacks on innocent residents.
“It is shocking and inhumane for a police officer to clobber an infant to death,” she said.
She questioned the nature of officers deployed to Kisumu saying some intended to kill.
“Local police are also wondering where such officers were brought from.”
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority is looking into the allegations against police and will punish those found guilty.
“Culpability will not only be on the individual officers but also their respective commanders in the operations. Our investigation is impartial mainly focused on facts and evidence,” the authorty said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had asked disgruntled parties to obtain permits before demonstrating and police to exercise restraint.
He noted officers are willing to protect peaceful protesters but not those who loot.
“Kenyans have said the election is behind them and majority have returned to work. Don’t interrupt the lives of others. As a government, we will not allow destruction of property loss of lives and looting,” he said.
More on this: Cops to be charged for killings, brutality – IPOA
Also see: [VIDEO] Challenge vote in court, Uhuru tells Raila, asks cops to exercise restraint
Residents of Nairobi’s Mathare and Kibera slums said those who attacked them may have been members of the outlawed Mungiki sect.
Read: ‘I was here in 2007, I know Mungiki’: Mathare, Kibera residents speak out