Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Kenyan security forces are beating and arbitrarily detaining citizens and Somali refugees in Kenya’s North-eastern province, which borders Somalia, despite repeated pledges to stop such abuses, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement obtained by PANA here Thursday..
It said that on Wednesday, in the latest of a series of incidents documented by HRW since October 2011, security forces rounded up and beat residents of Garissa, the provincial capital, in an open field within the enclosure of the local military camp.
“When military officers can beat civilians in broad daylight without fearing repercussions, it’s clear that impunity has become the norm,” the statement quoted Daniel Bekele, Africa director at HRW, as saying.
“Repeated promises by both the police and the military to stop these abuses and investigate have amounted to nothing,” he said.
According to the rights group, the Kenyan police and military have been responsible for a growing number of serious abuses against civilians since the Kenya Defence Forces entered southern Somalia in October, with the stated aim of eliminating al-Shabaab, an Islamist
The same month, suspected al-Shabaab sympathizers initiated a series of attacks against police, military, and civilian targets in Kenya.
HRW said that in response, members of the security forces have been responsible for rape, beatings, looting, and arbitrary arrests of civilians.
The crackdown has largely targeted Somali refugees and Kenyan ethnic Somalis, but residents of other ethnic backgrounds in North-eastern province have also been victimized, it said.
-0- PANA PR/SEG 12Jan2012