|Media and human rights organisations have established almost beyond doubt that dozens of young men suspected to be linked to either the outlawed Mungiki sect or criminal gangs have been killed and their bodies dumped in the outskirts of Nairobi.Visits to the sites have revealed gory killing fields with human remains, many of them partly devoured by wild animals. The police strongly deny accusations that they are engaged in extra-judicial executions.
It is strange, however, that other than issuing flat denials, the police been reluctant to conduct any serious investigations. Reports to local police stations when the bodies first started being discovered a few weeks ago elicited very little interest.
And even after this newspaper and its sister publication, the Daily Metro, came up with a series of exposes, police seemed least interested in anything other than denying complicity.
We would have expected swift and serious investigations to identify those behind murder on such a mass scale and quickly bring them to justice.
Detectives and forensic experts should have dashed to the scenes to collect evidence and interview witnesses. Instead, we see a disinterest that sends worrying signals.
The public, generally, expects and demands very tough police action on violent criminals, terrorists and others who have no compunction about killing innocent Kenyans.
The police, in turn, have often expressed frustration at how known dangerous criminals are able to negotiate their way to freedom through the judicial system. That, however, can never be an excuse for the police to turn judge, jury and executioner.
It is frightening to imagine that a unit of the police, or the wider security system, would arrogate itself such powers. For even if initially aimed at eliminating criminals, such power can be terribly misused. The killing fields exist, and the Government owes Kenyans an explanation. Denials are not enough, and the finger of suspicion will only be lowered when the murderers are caught and brought to justice.