Kenya is generally a peaceful and friendly country in terms of political activism, but it is common during elections, referendums, and other political votes for sporadic campaign violence to occur around the country. Although Kenya’s last national election in March 2013 was relatively peaceful, the previous election (December 2007) resulted in widespread unrest and violence.
2011–14 terrorist attacks in Kenya, since late 2011, Kenya has seen an upsurge in violent terrorist attacks. Many of the murders and blasts were carried out by Al-Shabaab in retaliation for Operation Linda Nchi, a coordinated military mission between the Somalian military and Kenyan military that began in October 2011, when troops from Kenya crossed the border into the conflict zones of southern Somalia.
On September 21, 2013, suspected members of al-Shabaab, an al-Qai’da affiliate, attacked the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, killing 67 Kenyan and non-Kenyan nationals and wounding hundreds more. The siege at the mall continued for several days, and five U.S. citizens were confirmed injured in the attack.
Some 20 grenade and improvised explosive device (IED) attacks have occurred in Nairobi, illustrating an increase in the number and an advance in the sophistication of these attacks. On May 16, two IEDs exploded at the Gikomba market in Nairobi, killing 10 people and injuring 70. On May 4, two IEDs exploded on two buses traveling along Thika Highway in northern Nairobi, killing four people. On April 24, two terrorists detonated an IED inside their vehicle as police escorted it to the Pangani police station in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighborhood; the two police officers and the attackers were killed. On March 31, six people were killed in Eastleigh in a grenade attack. An attack also occurred on January 16 at a restaurant at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport; no injuries were reported. On December 14, 2013, an IED exploded on a passenger bus near the Eastleigh neighborhood, killing six people and injuring 30. Other targets have included police stations and police vehicles, nightclubs and bars, churches, a mosque, a religious gathering, a downtown building of small shops, and a bus station.
In 2014 alone, over 200 people were killed in attacks. No U.S. citizens were among the casualties. The majority of these attacks in the second half of 2014 occurred in North Eastern Province, mainly in Dadaab, Wajir, Mandera, and Garissa. Kenyan law enforcement has disrupted several terrorist plots that resulted in the discoveries of weapons caches, IEDs, and other dangerous materials, and the arrests of several individuals.
1984 Wagalla massacre.
July 27, 2011: Suspected Al-Shabaab militants attack officers in Mandera, killing one and injuring three.
October 1: Terror group’s gunmen abduct French woman in Lamu.
October 13: They kidnap aid workers at the Dadaab refugee camp in Garissa.
October 15: Kenya declares war on Al-shabaab and says military would pursue them across the border.
Kenya has experienced 100 terror related attacks in three years by Monday, August 18th 2014.
In December 2014, Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit officers confessed to Al-Jazeera that they were responsible for almost 500 of the extrajudicial killings. The murders reportedly totaled several hundred homicides every year.
2015 has seen six terror attacks in Kenya deadlier than Paris.
Tribal violence is common. In Marsabit, more than 50 people were killed and 50,000 displaced by ethnic clashes that began in July 2013. On November 19, 2014, clashes between ethnic groups over the ownership of cattle resulted in 14 people dead in Leruko near the Buffalo Springs National Reserve in Samburu County. On November 1, 2014, 22 people were killed in Kapendo in Baringo County after armed raider’s ambushed police. While this violence is not directed at foreigners, ethnic clashes are unpredictable, U.S. citizens are advised to check conditions and monitor local media reports before traveling to these areas.
Police Response-The Kenyan Police Service is almost solely a reactive force and demonstrates moderate proactive law enforcement techniques or initiative to deter or investigate crime. Police often lack equipment, resources, training, and personnel to respond to calls for assistance or other emergencies. The likelihood of the police responding to an incident would depend on availability of personnel and fuel for police vehicles. The police have a poor record of investigating and solving serious crimes. Inadequate legislation results in the lack of prosecution or large numbers of acquittals. Corruption occurs at all levels, which results in an ineffective legal and justice system.
How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
The Embassy has received reports of police harassment, primarily in the form of solicitation for bribes related to traffic stops. RSO recommends not paying any bribes and reporting incidents to the
The total number of people killed by police in January to December 2015 is one hundred and twenty six (126); ninety seven (97) of who were summarily executed, twenty (20) shot to protect life and nine (9) in unclear circumstances.
By monthly analysis, January recorded twenty three (23) executions, February, March and April each recorded (9) May recorded (6), June (7), July (1), August (20), September (12), October (4), November (9) and December (17) executions.
In the twelve months, Nairobi County tops in the highest number of executions recorded with a total number of sixty one (61), Nakuru with seven (7) followed by Isiolo with six (6), Kirinyaga with five (5), Turkana, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Homabay had four (4), Narok and Nyeri Counties with three(3) Bungoma, Muranga, Kajiado, Lamu, Laikipia and Uasin Gishu Counties had two(2) each. Kisii, Meru, Marsabit, Nyandarua, Kiambu, Busia, Bomet, Vihiga and Baringo Counties each recorded one (1). Report Compiled by Sister Organization –IMLU