Security operatives urged to target criminals only in North-Rift operation
Thursday, 16 February 2023
Residents of the regions targeted by the Kenyan government for the yet-to-begin security operation against bandits have pleaded with the National Police Service and the Kenya Defence Forces to only target criminals and not met needless brutality against innocent civilians.
President William Ruto over the weekend ordered Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to join the National Police Service in security operations in all bandit-prone areas.
“Let them come for the operation. We don’t object to that. But let them only target the criminals,” Loima Poghisio, a resident of Tiaty, told Citizen TV.
Another resident of the area, Paul Otudo, recalled a painful past operation that stole everything from him.
Otudo, a businessman, detailed an incident of police brutality that stole all that he owned, leaving him penniless and houseless.
“I lost goods worth 778,000. I had just come back from shopping in Nakuru. As soon as I arrived, the police came and burnt them. My house was razed down and I went back to zero. My milling machine was also burned,” he said.
On Monday, Interior cabinet Secretary Prof. Kithure Kindiki imposed a 30-day dusk-to-dawn curfew in the banditry-hit areas to set the pace for the operation.
The CS gazetted areas in six counties, including Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia and Samburu, that would observe the curfew.
He announced in the order that there shall be no public gatherings, processions, or movements, either alone or as a group, during the period of the curfew except as has been permitted in writing by the Inspector-General of the National Police Service.
As the joint NPS-KDF operation begins, human rights defenders have reminded the security operatives of the need to respect human rights in the delivery of their service.
Houghton Irũngũ, the Executive Director for Amnesty International Kenya, said on Wednesday the operation needs to be oversighted to avoid any excesses.
He reminded the troops that the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has the legal mandate to oversight the operation, and therefore they should work within the confines of the law to avoid any run-ins with the body.