‪Family devastated by killing of son at Garissa military camp as pressure mounts for answers

BY: Abdikadir Ukash

GARISSA—The family of a young man killed in Garissa on the weekend at the military camp now say they are devastated by the loss as human right groups gang up to win justice for the deceased.

Abdullahi Kassim, 27, was allegedly shot dead by KDF officer on 1st of August, 2019. (Courtesy)

Abdullahi Kassim Yussuf, 27, is the latest victim of extra-judicial killings allegedly the by the security forces against civilians. Abdullahi’s younger sister and human rights activist, Qamar said officers from the Kenya Defense Forces shot dead her brother on 1st August, 2019.

“As a HRD (Human Rights Defender) from northern Kenya, I have selflessly agitated for justice for other families whose loved ones were extra-judicially killed. Today, the grief is more immediate to me. It’s my elder brother who was killed by KDF. My family is crying for justice,” Qamar said on Twitter.

Kulan Post attempted to reach the Kenya Defense Forces’ communication team for comment. Our texts and calls were not responded to by the time of publishing this story.

The son of former Administration Police inspector, Abdullahi was born in Garissa . He was serving as Garissa Township Sub-County Administration’s office since 2017. His friends and colleagues said the late Abdullahi was an active member of a local youth group.

“He was the leading figure and active member of a group of activists dubbed Maskani Garissa that agitated for good governance, counter-violent extremism (CVE) and peace and cohesion efforts. He was a community mibilizer and an ardent football fan,” his friends posted in a WhatsApp group formed to call for justice on his behalf.

Abdullahi left home on Wednesday at 10:30 pm to watch a football match between Tottenham and Bayern Munich at a local joint with his friends along Ngamia Road, just hundreds of metres away from his home. After the match ended, it’s reported that he left with the friends at midnight when gunshots were heard.

In the morning after, the family of Abdullahi received a devastating call from the Garissa Referral Hospital informing them to collect the body of their son. 

“The police told us the body was collected from the KDF camp where it laid until daybreak,” a family member who sought anonymity intimated to Kulan Post.

Post-mortem results indicated that Abdullahi died of haemorrhage from three gunshots—two on his chest and one on the back.

The news of the death of Abdullahi caused violent protest in Garissa on the weekend, putting town’s operations at a standstill. Police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse angry locals who sought answers.

Speaking to Kulan Post, the executive director of HAKI Africa Hussein Khalid said the killing will undo the work of anti-radicalisation efforts in the region adding that such incidents have long plagued the region.

“KDF appears to be operating with impunity. Reports indicate that in the North East, they have become a law unto themselves – killing, torturing and maiming innocent Kenyans at will,” Khalid said.

He added that: “Incident such as this one widens the gap between citizens and security officers which is not good in fighting extremism. The excessive force used by KDF on Kenyans is counter productive as it only acts to win the terror groups unnecessary sympathy.”

Amnesty International has called for investigation as human right groups, family and friends of Abdullahi plan for demonstrations in Garissa town on Eid day. Other Nairobi based right groups said they plan to transport activist to Garissa to join the processions.

Locals leaders such as the Garissa Town legislator, Aden Duale have condemned the incident and called for speedy investigations.

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