UN: Kenyan police used "excessive" force in post-election violence

(dpa) - A UN fact-finding mission into the post-election violence in Kenya published Wednesday said that police used "excessive" force and were responsible for at least 123 deaths.

The report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said only one officer had been under investigation for brutality at the time of its investigation and said "the disparity sends a clear message to the public of impunity for police abuse."

The OHCHR said it had received information that police used excessive force in a number of areas including the Kibera slum area of Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu resulting in deaths and injuries.

A team spent three weeks in 15 of the worst affected areas from February 6 to 28.

They interviewed 188 victims and witnesses to the violence that followed the contested December 27 elections.

They also spoke to the government and opposition parties, law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and other parties.

More than 1,200 Kenyans were reported killed, thousands more injured, over 300,000 people displaced and around 42,000 houses and many businesses looted or destroyed.

A significant number of cases of sexual violence were also reported.

The report identified three "distinct but sometimes concurrent patterns of violence: spontaneous, organized and retaliatory."

The report said impunity was deeply entrenched in Kenya, not just within the police force.

Many of those interviewed said the failure to prosecute perpetrators of past violence and human rights violations had been a contributing factor to the aggression.

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