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Joint requiem mass held for police officers

By Peter Orengo Updated Monday, June 18th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3
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By Peter Orengo

Hundreds of well wishers, top government officials, members of the public and police officers joined families of the four officers who perished in the Ngong helicopter crash for a requiem mass at Holy Family Basilica.

The interdenominational mass was conducted by Right Reverend Bishop Philip Anyolo of the disciplined forces, while hymns were led by the General Service Unit (GSU) training school choir.

The bodies of the late Capt Nancy Gituanja, Capt Luke Oyugi, Inspector Joshua Tonkei and Sergeant Thomas Murimi were escorted by pall bearers in ceremonial police uniforms from the Kenya Police and General Service.

During eulogies, the congregation was told of how in a gesture of primonition, Inspector Tonkei a week before his death gathered his close family members together and told them that he had survived two plane misharps and was sure he would not survive a third one.

“He told them how he had served the country with humility and even survived two plane crashes. The family were taken by surprise since they could not comprehend the meaning of that speech.  A week later he was dead in a helicopter crash,” said Martin ole Kamuaru, who delivered Tonkei’s eulogy.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who led the government delegation at the funeral mass delivered President Mwai Kibaki’s speech. The President was due to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20).

Every speaker had kind words for the four officers who perished in line of duty with Internal Security minister Prof George Saitoti and Joshua Orwa Ojodeh who were buried at the weekend.

“These officers had a good heart. That is why they had to die the way they did in the line of duty. They are not the only ones because others are stationed across our borders to make sure we are safe back at home,” said trhe President.

The President promised that the government will set up a special fund to take care of eduactional needs of the children of officers who die in the line of duty.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga who appeared shortly and delivered a 10 minute speech before leaving to attend other official duties assured that investigation into the crash will be done to unravel the mystery behind the crash.

“We have decided to hold a public investigation because we feel as the government that every individual’s life is important. We dont want to see this happening again. For the family i want to say that life must go on,” said the Prime Minister.

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