More than 10 lawmakers from northern Kenya blamed the Kenya Defence Force (KDF) for extrajudicial killings on Monday after a mass grave was found in the Mandera County, Muslim-majority northeastern province.
The press briefing was held at the Kenyan Parliament in Nairobi by the lawmakers including Billow Kerrow, the senator of Mandera County where mass graves were found last Sunday.
Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow said they have evidence that the people who have disappeared in the past three years, were picked up by KDF soldiers in ‘unmarked’ cars and driven to military camps. Afterwards they were never seen again.
Mr Kerrow said, “We even know the individual KDF members involved in the kidnapping, disappearance and killing of our people, and we will stop at nothing short of individual accountability.’’
Mr Kerrow said leaders from northern Kenya would seek the assistance of the UN Rapporteur for Human Rights or the International Criminal Court to investigate the matter, saying the actions by the army were crimes against humanity.
The leaders from northern Kenya claimed that they would help the UN Rapporteur for Human Rights or the International Criminal Court to investigate the killings they say are crimes against humanity.
Mandera West parliamentarian Mohammed Mahmoud said leaders from the region supported the war against terrorism but that this does not mean we should tolerate the arbitrary killings.
The leaders said one of the bodies found in the graves was of a woman who had been picked up by KDF soldiers in Mandera Town.
According to the lawmakers, the body had been badly tortured and there were bullet holes found on the body.They claimed that she might have been tortured in the camp before being murdered.
Mr Mahmoud said, “To us she was a woman who was selling tea in Mandera Town and a mother of five and even if she was a suspect, she should have been taken to court and not killed.”
The leaders also called on Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to organise a special tribunal to investigate the murders.
Mohammed Ali, one of Kenya’s top independent investigative journalists discovered that over 1,500 Kenyan citizens have been killed by the police since 2009 until September 2015.
Moreover, last year just in the capital 127 Kenyans were killed by police violence.
The report released in 2014 by independent watchdog organisation, Human Rights Watch says that ‘’There is strong evidence that Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) carried out a series of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Human Rights Watch also found evidence of arbitrary arrests and mistreatment of terrorism suspects in detention.’’
Last August Human Rights Watch found evidence of at least 10 cases of extrajudicial killings from terrorism suspects by the Anti Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU).