Kenyan security officers have secretly abducted at least 34 people in the last two years during abusive counter terrorism operations, a report has found.
The Human Rights Watch report, which will be officially released on Wednesday, stated the disappearances were mostly in Nairobi and North Eastern. The report, titled 'Deaths and Disappearances: Abuses in Counter terrorism Operations in Nairobi and in Northeastern Kenya', says persons are reported missing but that the government takes no action.
"In months, and in some cases over a year later, suspects have not been charged with any crimes and families cannot locate them," it reads in part.
It adds that authorities do not inform families of the detainees' whereabouts and do not properly investigate allegations of abuse.
It documents 34 instances of multi-agency security operations in which the military was actively involved in raiding homes and compounds to arrest people allegedly suspected of links with al Shabaab.
Some of the individuals interviewed by the Human Rights Watch recounted their ordeals.
"My brother Omar Yusuf was picked by two men from the Anti-Terror police unit. That was the last day that he was seen," a respondent, Adan, said.
He said his brother was picked on April 26, 2016.
Video courtesy of Human Rights Watch
A woman named Halima said men, some in police uniform and others in plain clothes, picked her relative and put her in a Toyota Probox. "They then drove away with her. They said they were going to ask her questions and would bring her back," she recounted.
HRW urged Kenyan authorities to end the abuses in counter terrorism operations and promptly investigate the enforced disappearances.
'Extrajudicial killings' suspected
There have also been complaints of extrajudicial killings in such cases and the government has been severely criticised.
Following the murder of controversial businessman Jacob Juma in May, opposition leaders pointed the finger at the government saying police will remain prime suspects if they do not complete the probe and identify the perpetrators.
In the most recent case, four police officers were on Monday, July 18, 2016 charged with murder of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani and two others. Kimani, his client boda boda operator Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri went missing on June 23 after attending a court session of an attempted murder suit against a police officer.
Another case of suspected extrajudicial killings has seen about 10 bodies dumped near IDP camps in Mai Mahiu this year alone.
Majority of the Non-Somali Kenyans Commenting on Human Rights Watch say the Police are doing great and even are wondering why 1000 Somalis are not dissapearing. ...My own Tribe which are residents of almost 40% of Kenyan Land and whom you associate to ALSHABAAB. It is important to point to them that, Wasomali hawakai kwa mtu wanakaa kwao hapa Kenya. If it's ALSHABAAB that is the problem, it is also affecting our own people. Our own Chiefs, Homeguards are killed by them everyday. The HRW was trying to imply that, You can get the person who messed with us and take him through legal justice sio kuuwa watu hoehae...This will be disastrous to our Security here in Kenya. It will not solve anything. It will just create even more issues.
Kenyans make much noise when Non-Somalis are killed by the same police but are happy When Somalis are Killed. That is Double Standard. These Dissapperances will entice AL-SHABAAB and create animosity as obviously hawa watu hawatakuwa na kisasi pia kwajili watu wao wameuliwa....The Police can do their work smartly. Watumie intelligence kushika one by one lakini ukisema utauwa all suspects....It doesn't work out...Ni shida ndio tuna ongeza...Police should do their work in a 21st century technology.