By Grace Dzuwa
A suspected death squad operating inside Kenya’s police force is using Facebook to target and kill young men they believe to be gang members, residents of a poor and overcrowded area of the capital have told a public meeting.
According to BBC , a woman said that she have lost two husbands in one year, a tearful young woman, balancing a toddler on her side, told the crowded town hall meeting in Nairobi’s Kayole residential estate last month.
Others came forward to the microphone to tell similar stories about losing young relatives aged between 15 and 24.
The state prosecutor, top police officers and human rights activists, who were also at the rare gathering, listened as community leaders explain how these youngsters, suspected to be criminals, were profiled within various Facebook groups by “gangster hunters”.
“They profile them on Facebook, after one week or a month they shoot them, and put pictures of their dead bodies on Facebook,” Wilfred Olal from the Dandora Community Justice Centre told the meeting.
The posted photos, sometimes showing close-up shots of heads split open by bullets and eviscerated bodies, usually come with a warning that the same fate awaits other criminals. Some of the images are blurred by Facebook but a user can choose to un-blur them.
The Kayole residents say there are various Facebook groups, some public and some which are closed, that are updated with gruesome pictures almost every day.
Duncan Omanga, a researcher at Moi University in Kenya, who has been monitoring such Facebook pages for three years, says that suspected police officers use anonymous digital personas to spy on their targets.