NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Doctors in Kenya say the bullet wounds that civilians received during opposition protests in two counties last month show that most were shot while running from police or trying to surrender, according to a report released Friday.
The report by the Kenya Medical Association, Amnesty International Kenya and the Law Society of Kenya looked at three days of protests in the western counties of Kisumu and Kisii, part of the opposition’s stronghold. It confirmed at least 11 people killed, most of them shot dead, and counted at least 47 others with gunshot wounds.
“There was indeed the use of excessive force by the police” during the protests over the rising cost of living, the report said, noting that some victims were simply bystanders, including a woman watching the demonstrations from her shop. She was shot in the chest.
The findings come less than a week after Kenya’s government said it would consider leading a multinational force in Haiti to take on gang warfare and could send 1,000 Kenyan police officers. The United States, as this month’s president of the United Nations Security Council, seeks to introduce a resolution authorizing the force. Some Haitians have expressed skepticism.
Human rights groups have long accused Kenyan police of abuses, and those warnings spread during the recent demonstrations. Another watchdog confirmed at least 35 people were killed last month.
The new report is based on visits and interviews with survivors and witnesses.
“First responders noted that some victims’ families were not allowed to see or photograph bullets extracted from the bodies of their loved ones,” it said. “Concerns over police tampering with evidence were high. One elderly father used his bare hands to find the bullet lodged in his son’s open skull.”
A police spokeswoman did not comment on the report and its allegations. A spokesman for the interior ministry, Francis Gachuri, said they were waiting to be asked by the report’s authors for a reaction.
The report calls for immediate investigations by the government-created Independent Policing Oversight Authority.
AP writer Evelyne Musambi in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed.