Militant Combat: Kenyan Police “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later”

Militant Combat: Kenyan Police “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later”

Written by Sarah McGregor | From Bloomberg

As Kenyan police seek to counter attacks by Islamist militants from neighboring Somalia and crack down on spiraling crime, they’re increasingly pursuing a policy of shoot first and ask questions later, according to human rights monitors.

Law enforcement officers have committed at least 176 summary executions so far this year compared with 143 in the same period last year, according to the Nairobi-based rights group, the Independent Medico-Legal Unit. It didn’t provide a breakdown of how many were suspected militants and criminals.

Such methods risk stoking public anxiety about insecurity among the general public and fueling sympathy for the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants among young Muslims, said Jonathan Horowitz, legal officer at the George Soros-funded Open Society Justice Initiative.

“Extra-judicial killings are part of a tapestry of human-rights abuses that may feel like an appropriate short-term solution, but it’s deeply misguided because it creates more instability,” Horowitz said by phone from Zanzibar. The violations are taking place “in the context of Kenyans combating terrorism,” he said.

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