A US risk mitigation group said Monday it will help Kenya to crack down on sexual offenders during recent violence and reduce violence against women in the east African nation.
New York-based GlobalOptions Group Inc. said its analysis wing, Bode Technology, will provide forensic DNA services to the specialised Nairobi Women's Hospital and a local firm to probe sexual abuse during violence that followed the disputed December 27 elections.
Kenyan police estimate that at least 1,200 women were raped, but women activists say the number could be higher since many victims did not report.
Bode Technology will assist the two institutions "collect, catalog and test the DNA samples (and) in the analysis of the cases associated with known, suspected rapists," GlobalOptions said in the statement.
In addition, the firm has already provided DNA collection kits to forensic experts in Kenya.
CSI Kenya, a local forensic firm, welcomed the partnership to probe the crime that horrified the country.
"Bode Technology's DNA testing capability in this effort is critical. This will provide the indisputable evidence necessary to convict suspects and to help reduce these crimes against women from happening in the future," said CSI Kenya chief Kinyanjui Murigi.
Bode Technology chief Howard Safir said the effectiveness of the DNA technology will help reduce incidents of sexual abuse.
"The collection and testing of DNA samples during a time of active conflict is a marked advancement in the use of DNA testing and has the potential of deterring future violence," added Safir, also a former New York City police commissioner.
"It's extremely rewarding to use our DNA analysis capabilities to help the people of Kenya have a more secure future and to provide an avenue to address past crimes," said Ed Huffine, Bode Technology Vice President for Humanitarian Services and International Development.
Lack of forensic technology has been blamed for police's shoddy investigation that often results in poor prosecutions and eventual freedom for rapists.
In addition to rape, tribal fighting and revenge killings claimed at least 1,500 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people, mainly in the capital's slums and western region.
President Mwai Kibaki and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga last month clinched a power-sharing accord that halted violence.