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Photos of ‘police brutality in Kutus’ taken from Kenya’s 2016 Nairobi protests

In May 2016, as Kenya was gearing up for general elections the next year, the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy called for countrywide protests to demand the resignation of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission officers.

The protests led to clashes in Nairobi between police and opposition supporters, which spread to other parts of the country.

Photos of the violence were published in international media.

Years later, the photos continue to circulate on social media – but falsely described as violence elsewhere.

On 4 April 2019 a Facebook user posted two photos, one of police beating up a man and the other showing a different man with a head wound and face covered in blood.

“Spotted somewhere in Kutus,” the user captioned the photo. Kutus is a town in Kenya’s Kirinyaga county.

The post appeared in a Facebook group with over 117,000 members, attracting 150 reactions and 100 comments and rekindling a longstanding debate on police brutality in Kenya.



Reuters photos of Nairobi protests


A reverse image search reveals the photos were taken during the 2016 police crackdown on electoral commission protesters in Nairobi.

Both were taken by Reuters photographer Goran Tomasevic.

We asked Reuters where and when the photos had been taken. Brian Moss, the agency’s ethics and standards editor, confirmed they were snapped during the 2016 Nairobi protests.

“Both photos are Reuters photos dated May 16, 2016,” he told Africa Check. “The top photo shows a policeman beating up a protester inside a building in Nairobi while the second photo shows a protester beaten by Kenya police bleeding during clashes in Nairobi.” – Dancan Bwire (23/04/19)

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