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Kenya troops violated human rights during illegal arms operation: rights group

[JURIST] Kenyan troops tortured, raped, and committed other human rights violations against civilians during an operation to quell ethnic fighting in the country's northeastern Mandera Triangle region, according to a report [text, PDF] released Monday by Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website]. HRW compiled testimony from victims in the region, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the area, and representatives from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights [advocacy website]. According to the report, during an October 2008 joint operation by Kenyan military and police to disarm warring factions from the Garre and Murulle communities:

security forces terrorized the civilian population through violence while demanding that they turn over illegal weapons if they wanted the violence to stop. By the time the operation was over on October 28, more than 1,200 people from both clans were injured as a result of severe beatings and torture by the security forces; one person died.

Kenyan government spokesperson Alfred Mutua [official profile] flatly denied the allegations [AP report], saying that HRW had not consulted with the government on the report.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International [advocacy website] Secretary General Irene Khan [AI profile] urged [press release] the Kenyan government to address impunity for human rights violations [JURIST report] committed by police and security forces during the December 2007 post-election violence [JURIST report]. Also this month, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan [official website] told the BBC [BBC report] that Kenya has until the end of August to establish a tribunal [JURIST report] to try the leaders behind the violence or he will be forced to give the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] a sealed list of key suspects for prosecution.

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