Kenya Police Watchdog Probes At Least 28 Election-Related Deaths

Kenya Police Watchdog Probes At Least 28 Election-Related Deaths

A Kenya police monitor has begun investigating at least 28 deaths following last week’s disputed elections, and investigators have already attended the autopsies of a young girl and a baby allegedly killed by the police, officials said on Thursday.

The government-funded but civilian-run Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) is fast-tracking investigations of all deaths and injuries attributed to the police following the elections, its head, Macharia Njeru, told Reuters in an interview.

“Investigation teams have already started work,” Njeru said. “All the post mortems that are being carried out on anybody who may have died … we are attending.”

Protests broke out after the election board announced that incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta had won by 1.4 million votes. Opposition leader Raila Odinga disputes the figure and on Wednesday announced he is taking his case to the Supreme Court.

Deaths the police watchdog is investigating that are linked to the elections include individual complaints, those reported by police and those referred to them by human rights organisations.

Njeru declined to give a total, saying they were still gathering details.

But the government-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said on Wednesday that at least 28 people had been killed in violence nationwide since the Aug. 8 elections. All were shootings they believed were linked to the police, said George Morara Monyocho, vice chairman of the commission.

“We forwarded all the cases to IPOA,” he said. “Our investigators have gone to various places, the mortuaries, and interviewed witnesses. We are using our own processes for verification.”

The 28 deaths did not include that of an 18-year-old student who died after a police beating witnessed by his mother and at least two neighbours, he said, indicating the toll could rise.