Locals take to the streets after policeman shoots teacher dead

A relative mourns Christine Maonga who was shot dead by a police officer in Navakholo, Kakamega County. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]
At least five people were shot yesterday when police officers moved in to break up protests by locals over the killing of a secondary school teacher in Navakholo Sub-county in Kakamega.

Reports indicate that a police officer shot dead 26-year-old Christine Maonga, who was a teacher at Navakholo Secondary School.

The incident took place on Thursday at around 7pm when a police officer reportedly walked into her rented house and shot her at close range.

The police were forced to use live bullets and tear gas canisters to disperse the irate residents.

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Josphat Olengo, an eyewitness, told Saturday Standard that he was at the market centre when he heard gunshots. He left to go and check what was happening only to find Ms Maonga lying in a pool of blood on her doorstep.

Mr Olengo said the officer and the deceased had earlier quarreled, attracting the attention of neighbours who intervened.

Locals said the two had a child who is three years old before they separated. 

“Most of the time, the officer is the one who takes the child to school. He previously accused her of infidelity when he realised she was dating another man,” Olengo said.

Repulsed by locals

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He said the police responded after two hours but were repulsed by locals, forcing them to open fire injuring at least five people.

A driver from Navakholo Sub-county hospital who went to collect the body was caught up in the melee and was shot in the back.

The police had a rough time containing rowdy students from Navakholo Secondary School.

Shaban Odugi, an eyewitness, said the suspect, who is still at large, was attached to Navakholo Police Station.

Maonga’s family in Kaundi village in Bunyala West location were still in shock after receiving news of her death.

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Her uncle, Ernest Makina, said that they received the news around 8pm and rushed to the scene but were barred by the police until the irate residents forced their way to the police station.

“Maonga had just been employed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) a few weeks ago and was yet to get her first salary. She had been employed by the Board of Management (BoM) of Navakholo secondary school,” Makina said.

Spiritual leader

The victim’s brother, Kelvin Maonga, dismissed claims that she was married to another man saying she was still single.

Navakholo Sub County Police Commander, Jacob Chelimo, described the officer linked to the killing as a calm person who also serves as their spiritual leader.

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Mr Chelimo said they had assigned the officer a Ceska pistol with seven bullets to guard the IEBC offices but 30 minutes later, they had gunshots and rushed to the scene.

“Five rounds of ammunition out of the seven that were in the pistol were spent.

“We recovered the firearm that had two bullets,” said Chelimo.

He dismissed claims that the police shot at locals.

The victim’s body transferred to Kakamega County Referral hospital mortuary.

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