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Kenyan police, a force with a bloody history, have faced off against protesters and Haitian gangs at home.


Excessive use of force. For too long, violence has been committed with impunity.

Such is the reputation of Kenya’s police force, which has again been called into question after at least five people were reportedly killed by gunfire during a standoff between police and protesters in the capital, Nairobi, on Tuesday.

That day Kenyan police team arrives in Haiti Leading a force to restore order in the gang-ravaged Caribbean nation, the deployment was harshly condemned by activists and human rights groups, citing a history of police abuses and unlawful killings.

Kenya’s police force is a product of colonial-era British efforts to control the population and suppress dissent. As Kenyans began to assert their right to self-government in the 1950s, the police and other British-run security services rounded up tens of thousands of Kenyans and hanged more than a thousand. It was a particularly disturbing chapter in British rule, and the award-winning book,Imperial Liquidation

Policing in Kenya did not change significantly after independence in 1963. The police, especially the paramilitary General Service Brigade and another unit known as the Flying Squad, became a feared force known for their quickness to pull the trigger and impunity.

inside Summer 1990Kenyans staged their first major pro-democracy protests. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Nairobi, calling for an end to the dictatorship that was then ruling the country. Police responded by shooting and killing dozens of people.

period Electoral crises in 2007 and early 2008During this period, the police shot and killed dozens of protesters. There were even cases on television where the police shot and killed unarmed demonstrators.

In 2009, the United Nations sent special rapporteur Philip Alston to Kenya to investigate the matter. The report The comments he made were shocking. “The Kenyan police routinely execute individuals,” the report said. “Most disturbing is the presence of police death squads.”

The Kenyan government has vowed to reform these services and has established Independent police oversight bodyWestern donors, especially the United States, have poured millions of dollars into training and other programs. The focus is on helping Kenyan police be more accountable and more effective in fighting terrorism. Crowd control and the use of non-lethal methods have not been a priority.

Last year, during Kenya’s first round of anti-tax protests, At least nine people died during the raucous demonstrations and their violent suppression, according to the Human Rights Commission and news reports.

In July 2023, President William Ruto’s government agreed that Kenyan police would lead the mission to Haiti with support from Washington. The UN Security Council approved the mission in October of the same year.

Kenyan courts sought to block the deployment amid concerns among activists and human rights groups.

“We are concerned that this is not the high-quality policing service we should be exporting to Haiti,” Irungu Houghton, executive director of Amnesty International Kenya, said at the time.

But Ruto has been working hard to improve his standing in the US government. Unwavering, He said the worsening crisis in Haiti was a call to “serve humanity.” Kenya’s Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua noted that Kenya has played a leading role in peacekeeping operations in East Timor, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sierra Leone and Namibia, and is deploying peacekeepers in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On Monday, Police officers heading to Haiti“You are carrying out an important mission that transcends borders and cultures. Your presence in Haiti will bring hope and comfort to communities torn apart by violence and ravaged by chaos,” Mr. Ruto said.

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