Kenyan forces accused of brutalities
NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyan security forces tortured hundreds of civilians and raped at least a dozen women during a three-day operation to disarm militias in the country’s remote northeast last year, a rights group alleged yesterday.
New York-based Human Rights Watch urged an inquiry into the operation in the Mandera region, a desolate and violent area near the borders of Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia.
“Instead of protecting Mandera’s residents, the military and police systematically beat and tortured them,’’ said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
Kenya’s government spokesman, Alfred Mutua, dismissed the allegations. “They never come to us for our side of the story,’’ Mutua said. “We don’t know where they get this information from.’’
Interclan fighting and cross-border raids kill dozens of people every year in Mandera, which suffers from poverty, unemployment, drought, and competition over grazing land. The region’s proximity to Somalia means there has been a proliferation of weapons flowing into villages.
Human Rights Watch called on the government of Kenya to prosecute those responsible.