Rights groups crit­i­cize Kenya po­lice af­ter massacre

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

The re­sponse by Kenyan se­cu­rity forces to a wave of mas­sacres a year ago in Kenya’s coastal re­gion has been marked by beat­ings, ar­bi­trary de­ten­tions and theft, hu­man rights groups said Mon­day.

A re­port by Hu­man Rights Watch and the Kenya Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion said the abuse suf­fered by the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in the wake of the at­tacks un­der­scores an ur­gent need for far­reach­ing se­cu­rity re­forms, in­clud­ing in­creas­ing their re­sources and weed­ing out abu­sive of­fi­cers.

Groups of Is­lamist mil­i­tants car­ried out a string of raids in June and July 2014 near Lamu is­land, a once-popular tourist des­ti­na­tion sit­u­ated close to the bor­der with war-torn So­ma­lia. Close to 90 peo­ple died in the vi­o­lence, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials.

The So­mali-led and al-Qaida-af­fil­i­ated Shabab rebels claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tacks, which they said were in re­tal­i­a­tion for Kenya’s mis­treat­ment of its coastal Mus­lims, in­clud­ing the al­leged ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings of sev­eral hard-line cler­ics in Mom­basa.

On Sun­day Shabab mil­i­tants at­tacked a Kenyan army base and briefly over­ran a vil­lage, both in Lamu county close to Mpeke­toni.

A Kenyan army spokesman said 11 mil­i­tants were killed, in­clud­ing “two fighters of Cau­casian ori­gin.”

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port by the rights groups, Kenyan se­cu­rity forces were slow to re­spond to last year’s mas­sacres, and that when re­in­force­ments did ar­rive, “their ac­tions were of­ten dis­crim­i­na­tory, sin­gling out Mus­lim and eth­nic So­mali com­mu­ni­ties for beat­ings, ar­bi­trary detention, and wide­spread theft of per­sonal prop­erty.”

“Peo­ple in Lamu and Tana River de­serve pro­tec­tion and jus­tice, not fur­ther vi­o­lence af­ter the hor­rific at­tacks a year ago,” said Les­lie Le­fkow, deputy Africa direc­tor at Hu­man Rights Watch.

“Po­lice should work with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to in­ves­ti­gate the at­tacks and en­sure that law en­force­ment op­er­a­tions are free of dis­crim­i­na­tion and abuse.”

AP

Kaylee Vazquez, 8, left, and Jayda Vazquez, 12, ride atop a con­vert­ible as the an­nual Puerto Ri­can Day Pa­rade makes its way up New York’s Fifth Av­enue, Sun­day, June 14. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple turned out for the pa­rade led by the is­land’s gover­nor.

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