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Families collect bodies of street protest victims

By Graham Kajilwa | Published Fri, December 1st 2017 at 00:00, Updated November 30th 2017 at 23:32 GMT +3
Families and friends of protest victims at City Mortuary yesterday. Seven bodies were yesterday released from the morgue for burial. Police have been blamed for the killings. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Tears flowed at Nairobi's City Mortuary Thursday as families and friends of people killed during violent street demonstrations collected the bodies for burial.

The victims were killed during several skirmishes with police last month and their families are demanding answers for the deaths they say were caused by police.

“They (police) said those who were killed were thugs. Was my mother, who was 65, a thug?” said Fredrick Odira.

His mother, Cecilia Atieno, was among the victims of chaos that erupted in Kibera on November 20, when the Supreme Court upheld Uhuru Kenyatta's election victory.

Fighting back tears, the 19-year-old university student said he had hired a motorcycle to take his mother to hospital with blood gushing from a bullet wound on her right thigh.

“My mother was at home and had just finished making her bed when the bullet hit her," he recounted.

He said no medical facility in Kibera was willing to treat her and they finally made their way to St Mary’s Hospital in Lang’ata, after losing their way several times.

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Too late

By then it was too late. His mother was dead.

"She was the sole breadwinner; my father died long ago," he said.

At least seven bodies were released by City Mortuary yesterday. The victims included Jacob Wasonga, James Lusava, Elisha Osenyo and George Muriithi.

But Joseph Muriithi, whose son George, 34, was killed in Dandora, said the killing was not as a result of tribal hatred.

“What I know is that those were robbers. My son did not die because of tribal animosity,” he said.

More bodies are expected to be released today. Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris said she expected all the affected families to have buried their loved ones by December 7.

A list by the National Super Alliance (NASA) claims police shot dead at least 24 people between November 17 and 21.

On November 17, when Opposition leader Raila Odinga returned home from a tour of the US, at least five people were killed.

“Looking at that list, I do not see any tribalism. All these people come from different regions of this country. It is Kenyans who have been hurt,” said Ms Passaris.

The MP, who was accompanied by her Kisumu counterpart Rosa Buyu and Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati, said NASA would take legal action to compel the Government to compensate all the families who lost their loved ones at the hands of police.

“It is disheartening that we had to repeat postmortems on some of the bodies because the police recorded mob justice as the cause of death. Even if they were maimed to death, we surely know who did it,” said Passaris.

All the affected families received money to help with funeral arrangements. NASA also cleared hospital bills for the victims.

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