Police worsen disabled man's pain

Elly Okoth at his home in Awasi Kisumu county on February 23 2018. The 39 year old man living with disability was shot during the recent Miguna Miguna demonstrations at Awasi shopping center. (Collins Oduor, Standard)
A disabled man who was shot and critically injured allegedly by police during protests over deportation of lawyer Miguna Miguna is now demanding justice.

Elly Okoth, 39, who was paralysed at birth, was shot as police dispersed protesters at Awasi township on February 6.

The cobbler was shot as he left his kiosk. He was admitted to hospital and discharged almost immediately because his relatives could not afford medical fees.

Okoth insists he was not among the protesters when the bullet hit him.

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When The Standard visited him, Okoth was seated outside his house. He raised his bleary eyes heavenwards and let out a long sigh of despair.

He told us that he was more pained because he could not continue with his work due to his injury.

Okoth said he was shot at around midday as he headed home, some 2km away, from the scene of the running battles.

“On my way, I met three policemen. One of them approached and warned me to move faster as the situation was getting out of hand,” narrated Okoth.

Okoth who uses crutches, said as he turned to walk away from the police, he was shot  in the lower part his back and slumped to the ground, bleeding profusely.

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The father of four said the police who shot him then walked away, thinking he was dead.

“Good Samaritans picked me up and rushed me to Awasi Catholic mission health centre on a cart,” said Okoth.

He was later transferred to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital where he was admitted for three days.

More bills

He was discharged on his family's request. “The hospital bills at the referral hospital amounted to Sh9,982 and the county government and the hospital released my husband even though the bill had not been paid,” said his wife, Hellen Anyango .

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She added: "We requested to have my husband discharged because we did not want to incur more bills."

A weeping Anyango  said with Okoth's  injuries, the family now has no bread winner.

“We are suffering. Many times, we go without food because the kiosk is now closed. We really want to know why my husband was shot," she said.

She said her husband's deep wound needed to be dressed daily. “He suffers a lot of pain day and night. He bleeds when he stands to move. The painkillers he uses don’t ease his pain,” Anyango said.

festering wound

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She said the family could not raise the Sh150 required at Nyangoma health centre to dress Okoth's wound daily. She appealed to well-wishers to come to their aid to ensure her husband's wound is dressed as required.

Okoth's shooting was reported to the police (OB No. 12/22/2/2018).

But Ahero OCPD Mohamed Amin said they have no information on Mr Okoth's shooting. “I will contact the officer commanding Awasi Police Station to give some light if he has received such a case at his station,” said Mr Mohammed.

The family wants Independent Policing Oversight Authority to investigate the matter.

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