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How Western Countries Including Israel Contribute to Kenya’s Killer Squad and Extra Judicial Killings

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Visiting Israel PM Netanyahu inks his signature in Statehouse

Visiting Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu inks his signature in Statehouse

Anti-extra-judicial killings demonstrations were staged in most parts of the country on Monday following the gruesome murder of lawyer Willie Kimani alongside his client and a taxi driver. The three bodies were found floating at Oldonyo Sabuk river where they had been dumped.

The three are suspected to have been kidnapped by police officers before being tortured and eventually brutally murdered. Willie was working with IJM and IPOA with the primary focus being on police brutality cases.

The latest killings have rattled the country and incited the wrath of the majority of the civil society and law society together with leaders from across the board. The killings have been widely condemned, and calls for the disbandment of the killer squad by the state suspected to be behind extrajudicial killings have been renewed across the country.

Kimani’s murder comes only two months after businessman Jacob Juma was fell by mysterious gunmen along Ngong Road. The state-owned hit squad has been widely blamed for the assassination. As of now, three administration police officers are being held over the killings of the lawyer while the Public Prosecution Office is expected to open a public tribunal that will look into the murder of Jacob Juma. Director of Criminal Investigations had written to the DPP to open public tribunal after their initial investigations failed to bear fruits. The piling cases of extrajudicial killings hence elicited maximum condemnation.

The blood-stained Mercedes-Benz where Jacob Juma was shot dead. Police hit squad has been blamed for the murder

The blood-stained Mercedes-Benz where Jacob Juma was shot dead. Police hit squad has been blamed for the murder

According to reports, as of 2015, over 500 extra judicial killings had been executed by the police. A 12-member hit squad nicknamed the Kwekwe Squad drawn from the elite forces, is allegedly constituted with one aim; eliminating elements that the state deems as troublesome. Kwekwe squad was highly blamed for the killings targeting Mungiki members, and most human rights bodies put the number of killings in this operation at a triple digit.

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A good number of Muslim clerics and followers suspected of being linked to Al-Shabaab have also been fell by unknown assailants. The killings have been blamed on the hit squad, a claim that the government has been denying.

Leading to his death, Abubakar Shariff Ahmed aka Makaburi in series of interviews with Western media predicted his death. In one instance, he told UK’s Daily Mail that he was living on borrowed time, and his killing was a forgone conclusion. In an interview with Al Jazeera, he singled out the Anti-Terrorism Unit as the ones who’d execute him. In April 2014 Makaburi was shot dead by hitmen on a motorcycle while leaving Shanzu Law Courts where he had attended his terrorism charge mentions.

In April 2014 Makaburi was shot dead by hitmen on a motorcycle while leaving Shanzu Law Courts where he had attended his terrorism charge mentions.

How did Kenya establish such a lethal terror squad?

A hit squad member remains anonymous in an interview with Al Jazeera opening up on the extra judicial killings

A hit squad member remains anonymous in an interview with Al Jazeera opening up on the extra judicial killings

Aljazeera, in an investigative documentary, unearthed the existence of Kenya’s killer squad. The international outlet exclusively managed to talk to members of the lethal squad and conducted anonymous interviews with them.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, the four men – all members of Kenyan intelligence and special police units – said they had all been involved in the assassination of terror suspects, with one claiming to have killed more than 50. ‘We don’t arrest,’ a gunman from the Radiation Unit of the Kenyan General Service Unit’s (GSU) elite Recce Company told the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit.

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The gunman appeared in the programme ‘Inside Kenya’s Death Squads’ alongside a commando from Recce Company, a member of the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) and a spy for the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS).

According to Al Jazeera, all of the officers play an integral part in Kenya’s counter-terrorism strategy and all have had a hand in assassinating suspects.

Kenyan police have assassinated nearly 500 terrorism suspects in the context of an extrajudicial killing program supported by intelligence provided by Israel and the United Kingdom, Al Jazeera investigation revealed.

Slain Cleric, Makaburi in an heated interview with UK's Daily Mail reporter Paul Bentley

Slain Cleric, Makaburi in an heated interview with UK’s Daily Mail reporter Paul Bentley

According to the officers who talked to Al Jazeera, Israel and the U.K. provide training, equipment and intelligence to Kenyan officers on how to “eliminate” suspects targeted by Kenyan security forces.

Both Israel and the U.K. denied involvement. The U.K. Foreign Office added that it had “raised concerns” with the Kenyan government over such “serious allegations.”

The police killings, according to the ATPU officer speaking to Al Jazeera, are ordered by Kenya’s National Security Council and run into hundreds every year. “Day in, day out, you hear of eliminating suspects,” the officer said. “Since I was employed, I’ve killed over 50. I do become proud because I’ve eliminated some problems,” said another officer.

Kenyan police put the lifeless body of slain Muslim cleric Abubakar Shariff Ahmed into the back of a police pickup truck on a highway in Mombasa, Kenya, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Attorney Mbugua Mureithi, attorney for radical Islamic leader Abubakar Shariff Ahmed, who had been sanctioned by the United States and the United Nations for supporting the al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab, said his client has been assassinated Tuesday along with another man whose identity has not yet been established, near the Shimo la Tewa prison in Mombasa, Kenya. (AP Photo)

Kenyan police put the lifeless body of slain Muslim cleric Abubakar Shariff Ahmed into the back of a police pickup truck on a highway in Mombasa, Kenya, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Attorney Mbugua Mureithi, attorney for radical Islamic leader Abubakar Shariff Ahmed, who had been sanctioned by the United States and the United Nations for supporting the al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab, said his client has been assassinated Tuesday along with another man whose identity has not yet been established, near the Shimo la Tewa prison in Mombasa, Kenya. (AP Photo)

The ATPU officers contend that Kenya’s weak judicial system forced them to resort to assassinations, as police have failed to produce strong enough evidence to prosecute terrorism suspects.

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“If the law cannot work, there’s another option … eliminate him,” an officer explained.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and National Security Council members denied the allegations.

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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [in.kenyawest@protonmail.com]

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