Kenyan police are accused of committing most of the sexual violence reported during last year's opposition protests over election results, the government-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said Wednesday.
A new report from the commission focuses on alleged gang rapes and other abuses during the uproar between the announcement of presidential election results on Aug. 11 and the Supreme Court ordered new vote on Oct. 26. President Uhuru Kenyatta won that vote, boycotted by the opposition, after the court nullified the first one citing "irregularities and illegalities."
Victims of sexual violence said the perpetrators included ordinary citizens, criminals and members of security forces who allegedly accounted for 54 percent of the 201 cases reported, the report said.
"From the KNCHR's findings, it can be deduced that sexual violence is being used as a weapon for electoral-related conflict," the report said.
Kenya's national police said it rejected "in all" the report's "sensational, introspective" assertions and urged anyone sexually assaulted by an officer to report to its civilian oversight body for investigation.
The report said sexual violence was used as a "punishment" in certain areas, notably in Nyanza and Nairobi, with both opposition and ruling-party neighborhoods targeted. Most victims were women from low-income neighborhoods, with the youngest victim 7 and the oldest 68.
Sexual violence took the form of rapes and gang rapes, and in some cases parents were sexually assaulted in front of their children, the report said.