3 opposition protesters shot dead in western Kenya

Friday October 13 2017

nasa demos

75-year-old Jenifer Njenda was shot on the right shoulder as she left hospital for home in Migori. PHOTO | ELISHA OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DAILY NATION
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By AFP
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Three people have been shot dead with two others sustaining injuries as opposition supporters clashed with police on Friday in western Kenya.

The three were killed after they allegedly attempted to storm into a police station in Bondo, the hometown of National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga.

Witnesses said a crowd had gathered in front of the police station, who quickly scattered when police fired bullets.

Several ran inside the building, which is when two of them were shot dead.

"One of them has a large wound on the head and another on the chest. They are all lying there in a pool of blood," said Charleston Okelo, a witness.

Chaos reigned as police tried to disperse the angry crowd.

"Why are they shooting at innocent peaceful protesters? Why did they provoke people by shooting? Now they have killed two people," said protester Wilfred Ojwang.

Area police chief John Kiarie said he could not comment on the incident until he received "a comprehensive report of what really happened."

Nyanza Regional Coordinator Wilson Njega said the dead were among protesters who attacked police guarding shops in Bondo town.

He said the three were shot because “they wanted to loot”.

Granny shot

In Migori town, 75-year-old Jennifer Njenda was shot on the right shoulder as she left hospital for home.

She was rushed to back to the hospital where she is still undergoing treatment.

"The bullet caught her as she left hospital in the company of my mother," Ms Maureen Akoth, her granddaughter, said.

Doctors at the hospital said she was out of danger.

A bodaboda operator, only identified as Bonny, was also shot on the thigh as he rode his motorcycle in the town's centre.

He was taken to hospital.

But Migori County police commandant Joseph Nthenge denied knowledge of the shootings saying "I am still finding out if my officers shot the victims".

The county's director of criminal investigations Benedict Kigen later confirmed that police had shot at protesters using rubber bullets.

He said the officers opened fire after protesters smashed their pick-up.

The Nation could not immediately establish if the bullets used were indeed made of rubber.

Kisumu

In Kisumu, the main city in the west which is Mr Odinga's stronghold, there were chaotic scenes as police fired teargas and gunshots rang out as protesters pelted them with stones.

Kisumu is just 50 kilometres (30 miles) away from Bondo.

Burning tyres blocked main roads in the city, bringing business to a standstill.

Six people were rushed to the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Referral hospital, some with bullet wounds and others clobbered with clubs.

The capital city

In Nairobi, opposition leaders tried to stage a march, in defiance of a government ban on protests, but when police fired teargas, the protesters dispersed.

A second attempt elsewhere in the capital city also ended in a cloud of teargas.

"We are not intimidated," insisted James Orengo, a vocal Nasa official.

Similar run-ins with the police were witnessed in coastal Mombasa city and the west's towns of Homa Bay and Busia.

Uncertainty

The protests have raised fears of drawn out instability as Kenya faces its worst political crisis since a disputed 2007 election led to months of politically-motivated tribal violence that left more than 1,100 dead.

Violence in the days after this year's election left 37 dead, according to a local human rights group which said these were mostly at the hands of police.

During protests on Wednesday, several were treated for gunshot wounds in Kisumu.

The opposition is pushing for electoral changes before the repeat presidential election, slated for October 26, is held.