The police in Kenya have killed 12 persons in a bid to enforce a stay-at-home order occasioned by the coronavirus, one more than the 11 death toll recorded from the virus itself.
The government’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) said there were 35 solid cases of police brutality tied to curfew enforcement, and 12 deaths.
One of the victims, 13-year-old Yassin Moyo was shot dead in his balcony by police in Nairobi on March 31.
Rights activist, Wilfred Olal said that the police-linked deaths followed a pattern of harassment, maiming and killing of citizens by security agents that should protect them since the curfew began on March 27.
Confirming the deaths from the dusk-to-dawn curfew to Anadolu, he said, “The deaths have been there, it is around 15 but we are still verifying that is why we are going with 12 confirmed cases, the aspects of police brutality and beatings… it is in huge numbers that we cannot document.
“The people fear the police more than COVID-19, people are putting on masks not because they fear COVID-19, they fear that they would be arrested and extorted.”
He told Washington Post on Thursday that the deaths have been at least one a night since the curfew was imposed 21 days ago.
“To be honest, we’ve lost count. It’s dozens. There are many more,” Olal, who coordinates a network of social justice centres in slums across Kenya that is trying to keep track of curfew-related deaths, lamented.
An Amnesty International report stated that 624 Kenyans have been killed by police since 2007.
A report by the international organisation in 2017 stated out of the 177 reported cases of police killings in Africa, 122 of them were in the East African nation.