Kenyan Officers in Disbanded Unit Tried for Murder, Abuse, Conspiracy

The trial of four former Kenyan police officers charged with murdering two Indian nationals and their Kenyan driver began Monday in Nairobi. 

The Indian men, Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan and Mohamed Zaid Sami Kidwai, were in Kenya to work on the electoral campaign of President William Ruto, who was elected in August. 

Kenyan media report the officers were taken into custody by police in late July. The remains of the victims were found in a forest last week.

The four officers were members of a Special Services Unit that Ruto disbanded this month for allegedly carrying out extrajudicial killings and disappearances. Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority says the unit is suspected in the disappearance of more than 100 people this year alone.  

Addressing a news conference Monday, authority chairperson Anne Makori said the unit is suspected of torturing victims and dumping their bodies in Kenya’s Yala River.  

“In January 2022, the authority launched investigations into incidences in which 25 dead bodies were found dumped in River Yala on diverse dates. Having attended all postmortem examination, the general emerging trend as the course of death was determined as: out of the bodies, 12 had injuries,” Makori said.

The authority continues to investigate other disappearances connected to the unit. 

In addition to murder charges, the four ex-officers on trial are accused of abuse of office and conspiracy to commit felonies.  

If found guilty, they could face up to life in prison.  

 

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