February 25th 2018

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Police employing targeted killing of Luos - Orengo

"Our supporters have reported that in Kisumu over the past two weeks, there are usually flanks of civilians who operate behind the police, whose sole work is to destroy or loot shops."

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSaturday, 14 Oct 2017 17:42 EAT

Part of the crowds that came out in support of the NASA demonstrations at Uhuru Park.

NASA lawyer and Siaya senator James Orengo has accused the police of providing cover for people who loot shops and destroy property during the ongoing anti-IEBC demonstrations in Kisumu. 

The senator said that NASA supporters have witnessed a pattern whereby the police clear protesters from the town but in their wake leave space for people who destroy businesses. 

He also challenged the Inspector General of Police to explain to the country why some police officers who were deployed to quell the riots were armed with a panga. The photo of the officer went viral on social media, with questions being asked whether the police had criminal elements within its ranks.

Below is the full statement read by Senator Orengo today.

OCTOBER 14, 2017

We are here to give you an update on yesterday's demonstrations in support of the NASA Coalition's demands for reforms in the Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC.

We are happy to report that Kenyans have responded with enthusiasm to our calls for reforms and internalized the idea that we cannot go to another election with the current IEBC and support institutions.

Yesterday, tens of thousands of Kenyans took to the streets in most of the major towns in Kenya, including Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Kakamega, Kisii, Voi, Kitui, Busia, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, among others.

There were demonstartions in at least 20 counties.

Most of demonstrations, with the exception of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, began on a very peaceful note. However, in five towns, namely Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Bondo, Migori and Homa Bay, police broke the demos forcefully, resulting in several injuries, destruction of property and, most unfortunately, the deaths of three innocent protesters.

The three killings were in Bondo Town where police shot dead the three unarmed men at close range completely without justification.

Until now, the police are still struggling to find a rationale for the killings. One senior officer said the three were shot while trying to invade a police station. Another has said they were looting a shop. Yet another said they attacked a police officer in the course of the protests.

Our supporters from the ground have said none of these theories being advanced by the police is true. We have commenced our own investigations and welcome all agencies to help understand what happened in Bondo yesterday.

Specifically, we are appealing to the Independent Police Oversight Authority and credible human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Kenya Human Rights Commission, IMLU and indeed any other with the investigative capacity to move to Bondo quickly and get the facts on how these innocent Kenyans were killed.

In Kisumu, more than two dozen people were hospitalized with conditions ranging from serious gunshot wounds to extreme teargas intoxication.

Among the hospitalized were over 20 pupils of the Mount Carmel Academy in Nyalenda, whose school was invaded by policemen who threw teargas canisters at the pupils in the middle of a lesson. The school was not a scene of the protests, but the police still went ahead to attack it and endanger the lives of pupils. This is the second time police have attacked kindergarten pupils in Kisumu.

In Homa Bay and Migori towns, the police opened fire on demonstrators, wounding several. A number of survivors are currently in hospital. As you have all seen in the media, among the wounded was a 75 year-old woman who was shot while walking from a hospital where she had been receiving treatment.

The above highlights from Bondo, Kisumu, Migori and Homa Bay capture a worrying trend of the police using disproportionate force on demonstrators particularly in Luo Nyanza. By sheer numbers alone it is clear that the police are using a different standard in responding to demonstrators in Nyanza and other areas.

In addition to killings and maiming, the police are also engaged in a systematic plot of looting and destruction of property. Our supporters have reported that in Kisumu over the past two weeks, there are usually flanks of civilians who operate behind the police, whose sole work is to destroy or loot shops.

We are yet to establish this claim, but those of you who have been following the news know that among the suspects arrested for the looting of Tumaini Supermarket two weeks ago were several people who are not known residents of Kisumu. Could these be policemen operating under cover? Are they pro-state mercenaries? These questions have gained urgency in light of the photo, taken by a journalist, showing one policeman in the demos yesterday armed with a panga in addition to his regular firearm. Now, the police are not know to arm with pangas.

We have also learnt of growing police intimidation against our organizers and even the media. In Kisumu yesterday, the police tried to block media access to their operation zone. We have been informed that a senior GSU officer from the County Commander's office threatened a Star newspaper journalist who was following the protests along with other reporters.

In Vihiga County, officers commanding two police stations have given direct warnings to three NASA activists that they would face unspecified consequences for leading demonstrations. Similar warnings have been given to our organisers in Machakos, Eldoret, Maralal, Isiolo and Narok.

Our observation of the situation is that the illegal ban announced by Matinagi last week is already being piloted throughout the country.

The State appears to have unveiled a policy of profiling supporters of NASA and other protesters. This policy is being executed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi and Inspector General of Police Mr. Joseph Boinet.

Boinet, in his role as Inspector General of National Police Service, and Matiangi, as CS for Interior have authorised the use of excessive and lethal force in attacks against NASA supporters.

They have also authorized the use of militia and killer gangs to harm and kill NASA supporters. We have seen police officers armed with daggers and guns.

We have seen militia roaming the streets and descending on supporters in police uniforms while carrying teargas canisters.

We have reasonable grounds to believe that these two State officers Matiangi and Boinet are criminally responsible for crimes against humanity that are being meted out on Nasa supporeters in the name of preserving public order.

We hold the two responsible for the hiring of militia and dressing them in police fatigues and arming them with tear gas and guns. These gangs, together with police, are carrying out a widespread and systematic attack against members of the population perceived as supporting NASA and its leaders.

The target is primarily Luo, Luhya, Somali, Kamba, Abagusi, Maasai and coastal communities. These police officers and support militia have express authority to murder, rape and commit other forms of inhumane acts with State protection and pay.

They are also allowed to loot and destroy properties while Matiangi and Boinet ensure that police do not intervene to stop the attacks or to punish those who carry them out.

In Luo Nyanza in particular, there is a clear policy of ethnic targeting being implemented with brute force. There is a determination to turn Luo land into the Biafra or Kosovo of Kenya.

The sole purpose of these actions is to help Uhuru Kenyatta and Jubilee keep power at all costs. We warn that this country will pay heavily for these policies if they are not stopped now.

Our protests continue from Monday and will go on every day. If the brutality against our people continues, we will not sit back and see our people being butchered. We will take actions that will ensure the self-defense of our people against a marauding State.

And we warn Uhuru Kenyatta to be aware that he is steadily driving the country towards the end of Kenya as we know it. He and his officers must be preared to shoulder the consequences.



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