President Uhuru Kenyatta is under pressure to form a commission of inquiry to investigate increasing cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances linked to security operations.
Human Rights Watch, an international lobby group, is the latest organisation to pile pressure on the President to form the commission on executions and disappearances.
Government spokesperson Eric Kiraithe said they take great exception in the casual manner in which allegations are being made, reported and broadcast.
“The only defence Kenyans have against terrorism is the security forces and such blanket accusations and the tone of that report is out to bog down their morale,” he said.
This follows the presentation on Wednesday by HRW of an 87-page report documenting extrajudicial killings of 11 people and the disappearance of at least 34 people in the last two years during “abusive” counter terrorism operations in Wajir, Garissa and Mandera counties.
HRW executive director Kenneth Roth said research showed the abductions and killings are sanctioned by top government officials, given the coordination between the Kenya Defence Forces, National Intelligence Service, National Police Service and Kenya Wildlife Service rangers.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta should publicly acknowledge the scope and gravity of the numerous allegations and condemn any such abuses by security forces. He should direct security forces to comply with international human rights law, and end enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and torture, and direct the security agencies and prosecutors to take all necessary steps to hold those responsible to account,” the report says.
“He should establish an independent and credible multi-agency commission to investigate and report on the scope of abuses in counterterrorism operations countrywide,” it adds.
Roth said even though complaints have been made about missing persons, authorities have always ignored or deflected attention by blaming the abductions on al Shabaab or other rival gangs, which he said isn’t the case.