Thu, Feb 26, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Kenyan officer says police killed 58 suspects: video


A policeman orders his dog to attack people fleeing in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 7, 2007 . Kenya’s government-appointed human rights body on Tuesday released a video of a policeman, who was later killed, describing how he witnessed police execute 58 suspects instead of arresting them.


A Kenyan policeman who was later killed saw other police officers execute 58 suspects instead of arresting them, he is seen saying on a newly released video.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, a government appointed body, released the video on Tuesday and demanded the resignation of the country’s police chief, Mohammed Hussein Ali, to allow an investigation to take place.

In the recording, made by the commission in July, Police Constable Bernard Kiriinya described how, as a driver with the Special Crimes Prevention Unit, he witnessed 58 such executions within one year. Kiriinya added that his seniors sometimes said Ali ordered the killings.

Four months later Kiriinya was killed, commission vice chairman Hassan Omar Hassan said.

“Based on our preliminary investigation on the circumstances surrounding his death ... [the commission] strongly believes that the police are behind the execution of the whistleblower,” Hassan told journalists.

Hassan said Ali should resign to allow investigations because Kiriinya’s testimony “alarmingly reveals that at its most extreme the Kenya police may be a highly corrupt criminal racket and that the police and organized crime may be one and the same.”

The commission released the video as Philip Alston, a UN expert on extra-judicial killings, was winding up a visit to Kenya to investigate deaths blamed on security forces.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said the commission’s claims were “callous and irresponsible.”

Kiraithe said that Kiriinya worked for the police in Nairobi until Oct. 3, 2007, when he was transferred to a station in Kenya’s dry and harsh northwestern area. He failed to report for duty there and was declared a deserter.

Kamanda Mucheke, a human rights officer with the commission, said the body gave the government the video, anonymous testimonies of other policemen corroborating what Kiriinya said and other evidence months ago, but no action has been taken.

In the one-and-a-half-hour video, Kiriinya describes, among others, the killing of one of the country’s most wanted fugitives. Kiriinya says he witnessed fellow policemen in February 2007 killing Simon Matheri Ikere, first shooting him in back of the head, while Ikere was lying on his stomach.

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