Bernard Kiriinya

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Bernard Kiriinya was a police constable who blew the whistle on police torture and executions. As a driver in the Special Crimes Prevention Unit, Kiriinya reportedly witnessed more than 58 murders.

In 2008, Kiriinya approached the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights with a chilling confession: he had witnessed the shooting of a wanted fugitive, Simon Matheri Ikeere, whose death had been officially reported as the lawful killing of a wanted armed criminal.

According to Kiriinya, the police officers who finally tracked Matheri down in February 2007 had handcuffed him and forced his wife to cook for them. They then made him kneel in front of his house and proceeded to shoot him in the back of the head. Kiriinya spoke of many such executions, most of which were never investigated.

Kiriinya’s testimony was recorded on video and shared with the UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Killings, Prof Phillip Alston. Kiriinya’s confession was corroborated by at least three other police officers, all of who added more details of other gory executions.

For blowing the whistle on his uniformed colleagues, Kiriinya was forced to go into hiding to avoid imminent death. They eventually caught up with him in 2008 after he was lured from his safe house by a former colleague. As he made his way back, he was shot by two hitmen who fled in a getaway car. He was only 43.