Police officers in Kenya are on the spot after a report showed that they have killed 262 Kenyans since January last year, including a four-year old girl shot dead during demonstrations.
The increased killings have led to allegations of the existence of death squads and disregard for the rule of law within the Kenyan police, claims denied by the government.
“There is no policy in the government to kill anyone,” Reuters quoted Charles Owino, the police spokesman, saying.
Most of the victims were young men and boys. Kibera and Mathare slums, informal settlements in the capital, Nairobi recorded the number of deaths, Nation NewsPlex reported.
The findings are contained in Deadly Force, a database that has records from human rights groups, public and official government records on the number of Kenyans killed by police.
Nairobi County has the highest number of deaths, while August was the deadliest month with 33 recorded deaths, according to the report.
Most police officers plant firearms and weapons on their victims after killing them.
In 2014, officers shot and killed Kwekwe Mwandaza, a 14-year old girl in Kwale County. The officers alleged that they killed the girl in self-defense after she attacked them with a machete, Citizen reported.
The High Court in Mombasa found two police officers guilty of manslaughter and sentenced them to seven years in jail.
Police officers have also turned guns on their fellow officers. Rivalry at work, crimes of passion, extrajudicial executions and terrorism are some of the causes of the killings.
In July, an officer killed seven colleagues in a nine-hour siege at Kapenguria Police Station, The Star reported.
The officer was said to have been radicalized, and freed a terror suspect who was held in the station.
Police officers have been accused of abductions, forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of suspects on terror and robbery allegations.
In July, Willie Kimani, a lawyer with International Justice Mission, a Christian legal aid group was abducted and killed alongside his client and a taxi operator within the suburbs of Nairobi.
Little action has been taken by the government to punish police officers implicated in the killings.
“There’s a large number of people who get killed (by the police) but who die, who get buried anonymously. Nothing is done. Over time that becomes a cancer, a virus within the police,” Reuters Mutuma Ruteere, director of the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies in Kenya.