Kenya's anti-terror unit guilty of abuses, says HRW

Kenya soldiers stand by as hundreds of people attend the funeral ceremony for moderate Muslim cleric Mohamed Idris, shot dead by unidentified gunmen on 10 June 2014 in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa. Kenya's security forces have been trying to curb the threat posed by militants

Related Stories

Kenya's Western-funded anti-terrorism unit has carried out a series of killings and "enforced disappearances" during its fight against militant Islamists, a rights group says.

"Horrendous" activities were taking place "right under the noses" of the government, Western embassies and the UN, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

The US and UK fund the unit.

The unit was set up in 2003, five years after al-Qaeda simultaneously bombed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

More than 200 people were killed in what was then the most high-profile attack by al-Qaeda.

'Suspects shot dead'

Kenyan, US and UK officials have not yet responded to HRW's report.

It had documented evidence of "at least 10 cases of killings, 10 cases of enforced disappearances, and 11 cases of mistreatment or harassment of terrorism suspects", mainly in the capital, Nairobi, since 2011, HRW said.

"Suspects were shot dead in public places, abducted from vehicles and courtrooms, beaten badly during arrest, detained in isolated blocks, and denied contact with their families or access to lawyers," it said in a report.

"Donors need to carry out their own investigations of these abuses and suspend their assistance to abusive forces, or risk being complicit in Kenya's culture of impunity," HRW added.

The "horrendous conduct" of the unit would not protect Kenya from terrorism, it said.

"It simply undermines the rule of law," the New York-based group added in a statement.

Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group has carried out a wave of attacks in Kenya since 2011.

Last year, 67 people were killed after the group launched an assault on the upmarket Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi.

Al-Shabab said the attacks were in response to Kenya's decision to send troops to Somalia to bolster the weak UN-backed government.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Abdi Nor IftinGolden ticket

    How a refugee entered a lottery and won a new life in the US


  • Herring in a fur coatMerry herring

    How fish 'in a fur coat' is enough to make Russia's New Year happy


  • Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Windjana' Drilling SiteIn pictures

    The most stunning space photos of the year


  • Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Dame Judi DenchFilm quiz of 2014

    How much do you remember about the past 12 months?


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • GeoguessrWhere in the world...?

    Think you are a geography expert? Test your knowledge with BBC Travel’s interactive game

Programmes

  • Tom BrookTalking Movies Watch

    Tom Brook looks back at some of the best movies of 2014 from around the world

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.