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Cases of police brutality during coronavirus under investigations

Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata assured the public that investigations are underway for reported cases of human rights violations during the ongoing war on covid-19 emergency period saying action will be taken on anyone found culpable.
Addressing the media in Mombasa Friday while receiving status of human rights report between the months of March to May 2020, Elungata said it is a positive move to observe human rights and any atrocities committed on members of public during curfews and cessation of movement has reached the relevant offices and is being looked into including gender-based violence.
The Regional Commissioner said reported incidences are being investigated by Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) and whatever verdict comes out will be implemented.
Elungata equally called on human rights organizations led by HAKI Africa to help fight terrorism with the same zeal as often seen when reporting on areas of human rights.
The human rights bodies report cited the recent case of children who were caught at cross fire when security agencies were fighting Alshabaab as loss of innocent lives when the terrorists used the children as shield.
“We work for a government that loves its people. I don’t think there is any officer in government who comes out with intention of harming the people he’s supposed to be serving,” said Elungata, adding that when security officers go after a cases the motive is not to harm anyone but to pursue targeted criminal elements.
Tackling Alshabaab terrorists who have no love for children but use children as shield since only serves to inflict more damage on the government, the people and capture psychology of the public.
Elungata called on activists to help in the war against terrorism as IPOA investigates reported cases of human rights violations.
He urged the human rights bodies to look into an area that has been overlooked that of the mistreatment of elderly people saying the region has lost many old people, an issue that needs to be addressed as a human rights violation with the same seriousness employed on police brutality and gender-based violence.
Elungata called on members of public to report any cases of atrocities committed so that action can be taken since there are many government agencies whose main role is to investigate misdemeanors by public servants.
He said as security committee and public servants their aim is to serve the public as required by the law. Nobody goes out of his way to intentionally harm the public, added Elungata while urging everyone to report any cases of human rights violations.
The Executive Director Haki Africa Hussein Khalid, while presenting the status report prepared in collaboration with other human rights bodies said he’s looking forward to see action taken regarding the 291 documented cases in the Coast region from March 13 to end of May 2020.
The Haki Africa executive director noted that security agents are mandated to make sure people have security in their community adding that without security their can never be enjoyment of human rights.
He said Mombasa tops in the list of coastal counties with most human rights violations while Tana River ranked lowest not because there are no many cases but reporting mechanisms are not easy to use in the vast county.
In the report, Khalid said there were 20 killings where 70 per cent were extra judicial killings committed by police while 30 per cent were those carried out by criminal gangs, and killings by civilians were community members taking law into their hands.
He pointed at a case in Kwale where a man succumbed to injuries sustained through beating when he was suspected to have been deliberately spreading the coronavirus.
In his report Khalid observed cases of Gender-based violence perpetrated by close relatives including fathers, uncles neighbour’s were on the rise.
He cited a case in Bamba, Kilifi County where a girl was allegedly defiled and strangled to death and her body dumped into a water hole.
The report recommended that some of the Covid-19 measures were negating enjoyment of human rights saying that during night curfews atrocities were committed because victims had nowhere to run to especially GBV.
The report further said during cessation of movement people were denied the opportunity to cross borders to report to a human rights office, hospital or police since they were across the border.
They appeal to the government to open up the economy and allow communities to go back to normal lives since the measures are weighing heavily on them.
They requested security heads to intervene see justice is done for the innocent caught in cross fires in the communities it is important people feel safe and live harmoniously.
By Joseph Kamolo

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