Kenyan security forces raped, beat and assaulted civilians during violence in recent elections, Human Rights Watch said Thursday, claims rejected by police.
“There was widespread sexual violence against women and girls, and sexual attacks on men,” HRW said, in a report titled, “They were men in uniform.”
The violence, documented during Kenya’s election in August by HRW and other rights groups, recorded “police use of excessive force against protesters, killings, beatings and maiming of individuals, looting and destruction of property”.
The report was based on interviews with 65 women, three girls and three men who were sexually attacked. About half of the rapes reported to HRW were gang rapes.
“About half of the women interviewed said that they were raped by policemen or men in uniform,” the report read, adding that many attacks were also accompanied by torture and violence against the women’s children and husbands.
Kenyan police chief Joseph Boinnet dismissed the report as “utter falsehoods”, and challenged HRW to provide evidence.
At least 58 people have died during violent clashes since the August 8 vote, which split the country along ethnic and regional lines.
The poll was annulled in September by the Supreme Court, citing “irregularities and illegalities”.
The court ordered a rerun in October that was boycotted by the opposition, handing President Uhuru Kenyatta a landslide of 98 percent of votes cast by just 39 percent of the electorate.