Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Facebook used to profile and kill Kenyan 'gangsters'

A suspected death squad operating inside Kenya's police force is using Facebook to target and kill young men they believe to be gang members.
Community leaders explain how suspected criminals were profiled within various Facebook groups by "gangster hunters". "They profile them on Facebook, and put pictures of their dead bodies on Facebook." The posted photos, sometimes showing close-up shots of heads split open by bullets and eviscerated bodies, usually come with a warning that the same fate awaits other criminals.
The first unofficial police Facebook account appeared under the name Hessy wa Kayole [Hessy from Kayole]. "Hessy became the shadowy crime-hunter, the mystical lone ranger."

Spreading on social media, more Facebook accounts with names of gang hunters from other crime-ridden residential estates started to appear. In a single month between 10 and 12 police killings of suspected gangsters were published on a now closed Facebook group called Nairobi Crime Free.