Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said in a report that Kenyan security forces raped, beat and assaulted civilians during the recent election turmoil across the East African country.
Kenya has been in turmoil since September when the Supreme Court nullified the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta over “irregularities and illegalities”.
The court ordered a rerun in October that was boycotted by opposition leader Raila Odinga, handing Kenyatta a landslide of 98 percent of votes cast by just 39 percent of the electorate.
The leading international rights group on Thursday said it recorded “police use of excessive force against protesters, killings, beatings and maiming of individuals, looting and destruction of property”.
The report also cited multiple gang-rapes by men in uniform in the slums of the capital, Nairobi, and the opposition strongholds of Kisumu and Bungoma.
“Some were raped in the presence of family members, including young children,” the report said. “Most women said they were raped by policemen or men in uniform, many of whom carried guns, batons, tear gas canisters, whips, and wore helmets and other anti-riot gear.”
The report was based on a series of documented cases and interviews with 65 women, three girls and three men who were sexually attacked, HRW said.
Joseph Boinnet, Kenya’s police chief, has rejected the allegations in the report as “utter falsehoods” and challenged HRW to produce evidence.
Nearly 60 people have been killed during violent clashes since the August 8 vote, which split the African country along ethnic and regional lines.