Eight witnesses of six incidents of gang killings said that on November 17, armed men around Muthurwa market and along Landhies road all the way to City Stadium, to the east of Nairobi’s Central Business District, demanded to see national identity cards and singled out suspected opposition supporters by their ethnicity, beating and slashing the victims with machetes. Three witnesses said they saw gang members drag two corpses to Landhies road, 100 to 200 meters away, from where police later collected them.

Five witnesses said they saw the killings taking place in the full view of police officers and saw officers collect bodies without apprehending the killers. Witnesses alleged that the armed gangs were mungiki, a pro-government militia that was responsible for much of the violence Kenya suffered in the aftermath of its 2007 elections.

At least two killings occurred in the days just after the repeat election. On the morning of October 26, police shot and killed Willis Ojenge, a 30-year-old man from Homabay. His step-brother, who was with him at the time, said that his brother left his house at about 9 a.m. to go shopping and joined demonstrations. The stepbrother said he saw an armed officer run after Ojenge, who knelt down in surrender, but the officer ordered him to stand up and run, then shot him in the back.

On October 31, police shot and killed Philip Mutisya Musyemi, 31, outside his house on the Riverside estate in Ruaraka. His father, who witnessed the killing, said that Mutisya Musyemi was seated outside the family house with four friends when six anti-riot officers on patrol, who accused them of having been among demonstrators, opened fire on them, shooting him in the stomach. The men were admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital with gunshot injuries, where Mutisya Musyemi died from gunshot injuries on November 21. The others survived.

Many of the killings occurred on November 17 when opposition supporters rallied along several main roads in Nairobi to welcome Odinga from overseas.

At about 11a.m., even before Odinga landed, a police officer allegedly shot dead Patrick Muasya, 39, as he tried to escape the crowd near the GM auto company along Mombasa road on route from the airport. Muasya, a street vendor in Nairobi and a resident of the Mukuru Kwa Reuben neighborhood, was on his way to his rural village, when police shot him through the ribs, killing him instantly, said a friend who was with him.

Uhuru Kenyatta, RTR
Kenyatta

At 2 p.m., police shot dead Tom Atura, 30, who was demonstrating at Kawangware 56 area, during which the youth lit bonfires and blocked roads. A relative who was with Atura said police appeared to target both demonstrators and other residents with live bullets, in some cases shooting into residential and business premises. The autopsy by the government’s chief pathologist, a copy which is on Human Rights Watch file, found that he was shot four times in the head and chest.Eleven witnesses told Human Rights Watch that at least six young men were killed along Landhies road as Odinga’s convoy accompanied by his supporters approached central Nairobi. In one case at about 4 p.m. said a businesswoman at Muthurwa market who witnessed the killing, police shot Evans Owino, 23, a college student who had gone to welcome Odinga, in the back, killing him. Owino’s father told Human Rights Watch that neither police nor IPOA had interviewed witnesses to his son’s killing.

The police also shot dead Elisha Osenyo, 25, a construction worker, at about 4 p.m., just moments before Odinga’s convoy passed, said a man who witnessed the killing. Osenyo left his house in Kangemi for work early in the morning but called his family before noon to say he was returning to the house due to the growing tension, his cousin said. He never reached the house. Police collected his body along Landhies road at around 9 p.m. and took it to the Nairobi City Mortuary, according to the mortuary records. The report of the chief government pathologist found that Osenyo was shot through the armpit, damaging his heart, and that he died instantly.

On the evening of November 17, anti-riot police fired a teargas canister directly onto the chest of Kennedy Owino, a 30-year-old man from Nairobi’s Katwekera area, Kibera neighborhood, killing him, his brother said. Owino had been at the airport with his older brother and ran into demonstrations in his neighborhood on his way home. A witness among the demonstrators said a General Service Unit (GSU) police officer deployed to disperse the demonstrators fired the cannister at Owino.

The other people killed by police on November 17 include Josephat Sakas, 39, who, relatives and witnesses said, police shot dead along Landhies road; and Maurice Otieno Odipo, 23, from Kawangware, who witnesses said police shot and killed at the Landies road roundabout. Human Rights Watch also saw records at the city mortuary that police brought an additional five bodies on the night of November 17.

On November 19, police shot dead Gabriel Onyango Obiero, 35, an auto factory employee, along Nairobi’s outer ring road at around 8:30 a.m. His wife said the area was tense after media reported that five people had either been shot or hacked to death and bodies dumped on streets in the Riverside neighborhood, Babadogo. Onyango Obiero, who feared riots might erupt, went out at around 8 a.m. to withdraw money from the bank. A shopkeeper along outer ring road who witnessed the killing said that Onyango Obiero encountered police collecting bodies of people found dead on that road, and that a female officer aimed and shot Onyango Obiero as he walked along the road.

Also, on November 19, police shot dead Stephen Mbaluka Mbui, a 17-year-old high school student, in Mathare 4A at about 5.p.m. as he was on his way to visit his uncle. A neighbor saw Stephen pass anti-riot police officers, who were battling demonstrators in the area, and saw one of them aim and shoot him in the back of his head. He died minutes later while awaiting treatment at MSF clinic in Eastleigh, his uncle said. Demonstrations escalated with news of his death, and police responded with house-to-house operations in Mathare 4A during which they beat people, mainly men.

On November 20, police shot Elvis Otieno Ogutu, 30, a construction worker, in the chest in the Kariobangi area at about 9 p.m. killing him instantly. Residents said that anti-riot police had deployed heavily in anticipation of any trouble. A relative said that Otieno Ogutu had left the house in Kariobangi to buy groceries for his family. The killing prompted local riots, which police responded to with house-to-house operations, during which they beat and injured scores of residents.

Also, on November 20, a police officer attached to Ayany Police Post shot and killed David Omondi Otieno, 22, in Olympic Kibera area, said his brother, who saw the killing. Omondi had just closed his shop due to violence following the Supreme Court decision, when police shot him. Records at Kilimani Police station seen by Human Rights Watch say that police shot him while he was “looting”. A report by the chief government pathologist found that Otieno Ogutu was killed by a single bullet in the forehead. Family members said they gave a statement to the Industrial Area Police Station and IPOA but knew of no ongoing investigation. As in other cases, police did not respond to Human Rights Watch inquiries about the case.

Demonstrations and political tension continued in many opposition strongholds in Nairobi until November 28, when Kenyatta was sworn in. On that day, police barricaded roads, fired teargas canisters to disperse crowds, and used live ammunition to prevent Odinga from meeting with his supporters in eastern Nairobi.

Human Rights Watch found that, on that day, police shot and killed at least three opposition supporters in Embakasi and Donholm neighborhoods, including a 7-year-old boy, Geoffrey Mutinda, who was shot as he stood on the balcony of his family house in Embakasi. Witnesses said that, beginning early in the morning, police battled opposition youth protesting the swearing-in by lighting bonfires, blocking roads and throwing stones. They said that anti-riot police were using live bullets and shooting randomly into houses and at passersby, as well as at demonstrators.

At about 11 a.m., police shot and killed Faith Oduor Onyango, 30, at Kawangware 56 terminus, while he was buying groceries for the family, said a relative who witnessed the shooting: “He met police just a few meters from the door to his house. One officer aimed and shot him in the stomach.” The autopsy by the government’s chief pathologist, seen by Human Rights Watch, confirmed that the bullet ruptured his intestines.

The other victims on November 28 include Erick Ochieng, 28, who witnesses said police shot dead in Embakasi area. As Kenyatta was taking his oath, Odinga attempted to hold a public meeting in Embakasi area but police sealed off the site and dispersed supporters with teargas, beating some of them with batons.

Killings by armed gangs

Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that armed gangs they believe to be aligned with the government attacked people they believed to be opposition supporters, often profiled along ethnic lines, in various neighborhoods in Nairobi. They said the gang members slapped, kicked, beat, and cut the victims with machetes. Witnesses referred to the gang members as the “mungiki,” an outlawed armed gang whose members operate in Nairobi, central Kenya and parts of the Rift Valley region.

Human Rights Watch documented at least 14 deaths these armed gangs appear to have been responsible for. On November 16, as tension rose ahead of Odinga’s return from overseas the next day, witnesses said, pro-government armed youths attacked Martin Otieno Olot, 33, at night as he printed t-shirts for the opposition NASA coalition at his printing business along River road in down town Nairobi.

“A group of youth stormed into his business and beat him unconscious,” said a witness who was in a nearby office that evening. “They then locked the door from outside and threw a petrol bomb inside.” His brother said that, although Otieno Olot was rescued by fire fighters who responded to the explosion, he died from severe burns and machete cuts three days later. Hospital records showed over 86 percent of his body was burned.

Most of the killings occurred between November 17 and November 20. On the evening of November 17, a group of armed young men attacked Stephen Omondi, a 20-year-old student, at Muthurwa market in Nairobi’s central business district, where he was running a family shop. A relative who saw the attack said: “the youth dragged his body from the market and dumped it by the roadside in full view of police.”

On November 17, witnesses alleged, police shot dead Kennedy Odhong Obel, 30, along Jogoo road at about 2 p.m. A relative who lived with him said Odhong Obel was among hundreds of young people who had turned up to receive Odinga from his overseas trip. Even though witnesses said they saw police shoot him in the neck, a report of the chief government pathologist appeared to contradict the witness accounts. The report showed he died of injuries caused by a sharp object in the neck.

The same day, in Shauri Moyo neighborhood in eastern Nairobi, relatives said, Collins Owino, 33, a plumber, failed to return from work. A coworker who saw the attack said Jubilee supporters armed with machetes profiled his ethnicity using a language test, then hacked him to death: “Jubilee party supporters first asked him to speak in Kikuyu language. They started beating and cutting him with machetes as police watched when he failed to speak the language.”

Two days later the family found his body at City Mortuary in Nairobi, brought in by a police officer, with machete cuts on his head and arms. A report by the government’s chief pathologist showed that Owino died from the injuries and severe bleeding.

On the same day, armed youth suspected by witnesses to support the ruling Jubilee party killed John Omondi Ojwang, 33, a mechanic near Burma market, not far from Kamukunji police station in eastern Nairobi, witnesses and family members said. Two family members and three witnesses said that pro-government gangs were also responsible for the deaths of Kennedy Okoth Barasa, 30, and Mary Atieno, 31, both from Kibera. The two had gone to receive Odinga at the airport, were assaulted on their way home, and died from the injuries, witnesses said.

A witness said that pro-ruling party youth assaulted Kennedy Okoth Barasa, 35, near City Stadium and that he died four days later. Report of the chief government pathologist showed he died of severe internal bleeding. A relative who was with Atieno said she was assaulted and killed on their way back to his house in Kibera.

On November 19, Kenyan media reported that the bodies of four residents of Riverside, Babadogo and Dandora neighborhoods were found dead on the streets in Riverside, killed overnight by unknown assailants. Residents and a night guard who survived that early morning attack told Human Rights Watch that they saw a man administering a language test and killing people who failed. “He first greeted me in Kikuyu Language and when I responded in Swahili he attacked me with a machete,” the guard said. “He would shoot at or attack with a machete anyone who failed to respond to him in his mother tongue. To him, this meant you were a NASA supporter.” said the survivor.

The same day in Korogocho, suspected Jubilee party supporters beat to death George Owino Odhiambo, 40, witnesses said. His brother said the attackers threw the body from the overhead crossing at the Kariobangi-Huruma interchange: “When we collected his body, all the bones on his body were broken – all arms, legs and the back were broken due to the fall. He also had machete cuts all over his body.”

In some cases, opposition youth gangs fought against the ruling party supporters, or attacked them. On November 17, in the aftermath of the chaos and police killings, opposition youth in Nairobi’s industrial area killed Patrick Baariu Kathure, 25, a businessman. His aunt described his injuries when they found the body at Matter Mission Hospital in industrial area: “The left eye had a big hole. The eye had been removed. The neck too had a big hole and the cheeks had machete cuts.”

A witness said armed opposition youth killed George Mwambura, 34, a businessman, on the night of November 19 in the Dandora neighborhood. “George had deep cuts on one hand, the back, shoulder and one side of his head,” his father said. “All his teeth had been knocked off.”

Human Rights Watch has not confirmed the identity of the gangs operating during the elections period. Human Rights Watch found no evidence that police had opened any investigations into the role of these gangs during the elections violence. In August, the interior cabinet secretary, Fred Matiang’i, denied media reports that pro-government gangs had attacked residents in opposition strongholds in Nairobi and instead threatened those making the allegations with arrest.

Source: Human Rights Watch
Author:Otsieno Namwaya