Fri | Apr 19, 2019

Police accused of post-vote sexual violence

Published:Thursday | November 29, 2018 | 12:00 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP):

Kenyan police are accused of committing the majority of sexual violence reported during last year's opposition protests over election results, the government-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said on Wednesday.

Its new report focuses on alleged gang rapes and other abuses during the uproar between the announcement of presidential election results on August 11 and the Supreme Court-ordered fresh vote on October 26. President Uhuru Kenyatta won that vote, boycotted by the opposition, after the court nullified the first one, citing "irregularities and illegalities".

Victims of sexual violence said the perpetrators included ordinary citizens, criminals and members of security forces, who allegedly accounted for 54 per cent of the 201 cases recorded, the report says.

"From the KNCHR's findings, it can be deduced that sexual violence is being used as a weapon for electoral-related conflict," the report says.

Kenya's national police said it rejects "in totality" the report's "sensational, preposterous" assertions and urged anyone sexually assaulted by an officer to report to its civilian oversight body for investigation.

The report said sexual violence was used as "punishment" in certain areas, notably in Nyanza and Nairobi, with both opposition and ruling-party neighbourhoods targeted. Most victims were women from low-income neighbourhoods, with the youngest victim seven and the oldest 68.

Sexual violence took the form of rapes and gang rapes and in certain cases parents were sexually assaulted in front of their children, the report says.