Bodies found as Kenya arrests 3 officers over missing men

AP News
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Posted: Jul 01, 2016 10:21 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Bodies thought to be those of a human rights activist and two other men were pulled from a Kenya river Friday, while the country's police chief said three police officers have been arrested in their disappearance.

The U.S.-based International Justice Mission confirmed that the two bodies found were of staff lawyer Willie Kimani and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri. The body of activist Josephat Mwenda, whom Kimani was representing, is still missing, the mission said in a statement.

The bodies were found in the Ol-Donyo Sabuk River northeast of Nairobi. A third body slipped back into the river.

The mission's CEO, Gary Haugen, said it strongly condemns the perpetrators "and the horrific violence inflicted upon these men."

Human rights groups have said the men were abducted on June 23 while coming from court, where Mwenda faces several charges including narcotics possession. The groups say the charges were trumped up by a policeman after he shot Mwenda without provocation in April 2015.

Mwenda had said he received threats after he reported the officer to the Independent Police Oversight Authority.

In December, the officer who shot Mwenda picked him up from his home and charged him with driving a motorcycle without a helmet and other issues, the rights groups said. The groups said Mwenda was still nursing his bullet wound and couldn't drive.

Kenya's police force has been vetting all 80,000 of its officers in an attempt to improve its image, but the vetting has been criticized for overlooking the records of senior police officers who have been accused of sanctioning and participating in extra-judicial killings of suspects.

Police in 2015 were involved in more than a third of the crime reported to police, the government's economic survey said last month.