The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) today held a press conference on extra judicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances that have been happening across the country.
Speaking today during a press briefing at their headquarters in Nairobi, IPOA chairperson Anne Makori, said that the Authority is obligated to hold the National Police Service (NPS) accountable in implementation of its constitutional and statutory mandate.
She highlighted that IPOA is obligated to ensure that NPS is held accountable for their actions and that they strive for the highest level of professionalism and discipline, under Article 244 of the Constitution.
“We are keenly investigating NPS action or inaction following numerous complaints received of abductions, murders and enforced disappearances,” she said adding that in January 2022, the Authority launched investigation in which 25 bodies were recovered from River Yala.
In her speech, Makori added that in September 2021, the Authority flung its own motion investigations into incidents in which 13 bodies were recovered in River Tana on different dates and the investigations are ongoing.
In line to section 24(4)(b) of IPOA act, the Authority shall commence an inquiry into cases of enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings and support any tribunal, commission or other initiatives seeking to unravel the cases.
“IPOA is also monitoring and investigating a police operation in which 11 lives were lost including eight police officers in Namariat Village in Turkana East to establish how the operation was conducted and therefore make appropriate recommendations including policy propositions,” said Mrs. Makori.
The chair further added that the Authority provides oversight and subsequently investigates the National Police Service in their involvement in matters that are brought to their attention by lodged complaints.
Section 7(a) (x) of the IPOA act stipulates that deaths and injuries caused by actions of the police be investigated by the authority. Section 5 of the Sixth Schedule to NPS Act 2011, compels the police to report all deaths and serious injuries where the police are alleged to have engaged in.
She at the same time highlighted that the Authority faces challenges of non-cooperation by some members of NPS. Due to this, the Authority affirms that it will invoke the provisions of section 31 of the IPOA Act. In instances where it is evidenced, the Authority will command responsibility to ensure accountability.
Mrs. Makori said that the Authority will publish and publicize its findings and will make appropriate recommendations.
The Authority passionately appealed to members of the public to volunteer and provide necessary information in supporting mentioned investigations. IPOA will handle the information that will be provided with utmost privacy and assurance of security of the witnesses.
By Edna Okoth and Irene Mwende