Kenya po­lice probe whip­ping pic­tures af­ter out­cry

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Po­lice in Kenya said Mon­day they have launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into pho­tos posted on so­cial me­dia that ap­pear to show of­fi­cers mer­ci­lessly whip­ping a group of So­mali youths.

The pic­tures were posted on the Face­book page of Michael Orita, who sources say is a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cial in Kenya’s north­east­ern county of Garissa, the scene of the April massacre of nearly 150 stu­dents by So­ma­lialed Shabab rebels.

The vic­tims were iden­ti­fied in the Face­book post as So­mali youths who had crossed the bor­der into Garissa.

“Th­ese So­ma­lia young men came to Garissa for a pur­pose but lit­tle did they know we are smarter than them ... we shall not re­lent on se­cu­rity is­sues,” the post says.

The pho­tos show a group of around 10 young men face down on the ground while they are be­ing whipped by what looks to be a rub­ber hose by a man in civil­ian clothes car­ry­ing an as­sault ri­fle.

Uni­formed po­lice look on and a marked po­lice car is vis­i­ble in the back­ground.

An­other pic­ture ap­pears to show an­other plain- clothes of­fi­cial tram­pling over the youths. The pic­tures were later pulled from the so­cial net­work­ing site af­ter an out­cry over po­lice bru­tal­ity.

“How will the se­cu­rity agen­cies ex­pect the lo­cal peo­ple to work with them while they tor­ture peo­ple in this man­ner?” said Khalif Abdi, co­or­di­na­tor of the North­East­ern Fo­rum for Democ­racy.

“What will stop the vic­tims from har­bor­ing re­sent­ment against their gov­ern­ment and hav­ing a soft heart for ter­ror­ists?”

Garissa County po­lice com­man­der Shadarack Maithiay said an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was un­der way.

Check­ing Au­then­tic­ity

“The pic­tures have come to my at­ten­tion and I have in­structed the rel­e­vant agen­cies to speed­ily in­ves­ti­gate their au­then­tic­ity and whether the per­son claim­ing to be a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer who posted them is a gen­uine mem­ber of our se­cu­rity force,” he said.

Maithiay said he was un­able to con­firm if there was a Michael Orita in the lo­cal force.

But he added: “Even if we found we have such per­son in our force we can’t con­clu­sively say he is re­spon­si­ble with­out our in­ves­ti­ga­tion prov­ing that.”

“What is seen in the pic­tures is wrong. It is against the ethics and the code of con­duct for any se­cu­rity force. I’m dis­turbed but it is good for us to be pa­tient for our in­ves­ti­ga­tions to es­tab­lish whether they are gen­uine,” he said.

Quoted by The Star news­pa­per, Garissa County Com­mis­sioner James Kianda said those in­volved “will face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion, of course sub­ject to val­i­da­tion.”

“This is not how we want to fight ter­ror­ism,” Kenya’s na­tional po­lice chief Joseph Boinett was also quoted as say­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.