World, Africa

Watchdog condemns Kenyan police brutality during curfew

Kenyan police shoots, beat people in the streets even before start of daily curfew, says Human Rights Watch

Felix Tih   | 22.04.2020
Watchdog condemns Kenyan police brutality during curfew


An international human rights group has condemned police brutality in Kenya, which has led to the death of at least six people, during the first 10 days of curfew imposed in the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In a report, Human Rights Watch said the Kenyan police shot and beat people in markets and those returning from work, even before the start of daily curfew.

“It is shocking that people are losing their lives and livelihoods while supposedly being protected from infection,” said Otsieno Namwaya, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Police brutality isn’t just unlawful; it is also counterproductive in fighting the spread of the virus,” Namwaya said.

The East African country has 296 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, with 14 deaths, and 74 recovery, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

Early April, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta apologized for reported police violence in enforcing a curfew imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

In the capital Nairobi, police arrested people on streets, whipping, kicking, and herding them together, increasing the risks of spreading the virus, according to HRW.

''In the Embakasi area of eastern Nairobi, police officers forced a group of people walking home from work to kneel, then whipped and kicked them,'' witnesses told the rights group.

On April 2, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, a civilian police accountability institution, said it has started investigating into the killing of some civilians.

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