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Kenyans protest lax handling of rape case

Kenyans are protesting over a lack of justice for a teenage girl gang-raped earlier this year. Meanwhile, the president has launched an anti-corruption website in a bid to curb government wrongdoing.

Several hundred Kenyans marched on the police headquarters in Nairobi on Thursday to highlight a large petition protesting lax treatment of suspects accused of gang-raping a schoolgirl in June.

The 16-year-old, known by the pseudonym Liz, was reportedly attacked, beaten and raped by six men while returning from her grandfather's funeral in western Kenya.

Her attackers dumped her bleeding and unconscious in a sewage ditch.

She was left wheelchair-bound by injuries, and her mother told the Daily Nation newspaper that three of the accused were only ordered to mow the police station lawn as punishment.

Widespread outrage

The crime and lack of action by law enforcement authorities sparked widespread outrage in Kenya.

More than 1.3 million people have signed a petition published by online activist group Avaaz, calling for the prosecution of the suspects and an investigation into the police handling of the case.

"Our immediate task is for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators, and then disciplinary action at the police who failed to take action, because we feel that they embolden others to rape," said Nebila Abdulmelik, of the women's rights campaign group Femnet. It launched the petition Monday that was publicized by Avaaz.

"My wish is to see justice done," Liz also told the Daily Nation, which first broke her story. "I want my attackers arrested and punished."

Senior police officer William Thwere, who spoke to the organisers of the march, promised police were "investigating this issue."

"It will be dealt with the seriousness it deserves," he said.

Kenyatta launches anti-corruption website

In an effort to curb corruption and improve Kenya's reputation, President Uhuru Kenyatta's office announced Thursday it was launching a website for people to anonymously report wrongdoing directly to the president.

"The president is committed to clean government and this site advances his intention to act strongly against corruption," said Manoah Esipisu, a spokesman for Kenyatta.

The website allows users to upload video, audio and other documents, as well as provides a list of different government departments to report, all while remaining anonymous. People can also report corruption via SMS text message.

Kenya is currently ranked 139 out of 176 countries on Transparency International's global corruption perceptions index.

Transparency said the Kenyan police force was considered the most-likely government branch to demand bribes, and more than a quarter of those polled felt "no action would be taken if they reported" an incident of corruption.

dr/ipj (AFP, AP, dpa)

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