Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned the KDF’s appraisal attack in Garissa following attack in which three soldiers had died on November 19.
In an online statement the organisation says an employee at Garissa Provincial Hospital said at least 52 people with severe injuries had been admitted there, at least eight of them with gunshot wounds on November 19 and 20, following the army reprisals.
“Witnesses told HRW that, immediately after the killings of the three officers, the Kenyan army surrounded the town, preventing anyone from leaving or entering, and started attacking residents and traders,” the statement says.
Witnesses also said that the military shot at people, raped women, and assaulted anyone in sight. Among the gunshot victims were two school boys who are claimed to have been home bound from school.
During the rampage soldiers also set fire to businesses among them Muqti market, the Alwaqaf building and Maua Posho Mill.
“The military remained in barracks on November 20, but regular police, administration police, and riot police continued the attacks,” HRW.
HRW now puts the government on the spot to end its arbitrary attacks by members of the military and police against residents of the northern region as a routine response to any attack on its security forces.
“The level of abuse by Kenyan security agencies following last week attack on three of its military officers is appalling and a complete contradiction of the government’s obligation to protect its citizens and guarantee their rights and freedoms,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
Lefkow says the government should respect the rule of law and ensure that its security agencies follow the strict letter of the law in detaining people before handing them over to the criminal justice system.
Dujis MP Aden Duale is quoted in the statement against the human rights abuses in Garissa saying,“over 70 people have been injured, some by gunshots from the Kenya Defense Forces, women have been raped.”
This not the first time HRW is accusing the government of complacency on armed forces in North Eastern, its May report “Criminal Reprials: Kenya Police and Military Abuses Against Ethnic Somalis” has been ignored.
“(We) documented serious abuses by security officers in the northern region following attacks in which security officers were killed. In October we documented cases of similar abuses in Mandera and Garissa, each time in response to a grenade or gun attack on security officers,” it says.
Following the report the military promised to end such violence to no avail and no one has not been detained or investigated or any evidence of any investigations by police into the abuses.
“The Kenyan government should take direct responsibility for the persistent abuses by its security forces in Northern Kenya, get them under control, and hold them to account,” Lefkow said