A notorious Kenyan police unit, linked to dozens of extra-judicial killings, is heavily backed by the CIA and MI6. That is the explosive finding of the British website Declassified UK. Kenya’s elite Rapid Response Teams have been linked, since 2009, to at least 100 “summary executions” and “mistaken killings” per year.
That amounts to a killing every 3-4 days. Exact information is hard to come by because, as one U.S. official noted: “There’s never a real investigation.”
The “elite” police squads are tasked with apprehending “high value targets” most often related to the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab whose activities crossover into Kenya. They receive Western intelligence funding and training under-the-guise of “fighting terrorism.”
Former Kenyan vice president Kalonzo Musyok told reporters that the killings are “unconstitutional” but are “allowed” because Kenya was “doing the bidding of the West.” The CIA flies unit members for paramilitary training in the U.S.
A U.S. official stated: “We’re really hands-on. We don’t just hand them the money once a month.” One Kenyan trainee explained that the CIA taught him, “human rights come later.” MI6 provides much of the “actionable” intelligence that ends up with Kenya’s National Intelligence Service and the Rapid Response Team.
Their operations are concentrated among Kenya’s Muslim population. Widespread abuses have spread “bitterness” and “anti-American” feeling, driving recruitment for groups like Al-Shabab that they are supposedly fighting.
The U.S./UK “war on terror” is no longer on the front pages, but it’s far from over and its cycle of violence is growing in Africa.