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The only sin my wife committed was to go to church, says husband

By By BENARD SANGA | March 26th 2014
Baby Satrin with his father Benson Osinya. His father carries him in the plane that airlifted the boy to Nairobi, Tuesday.  [PHOTOS: MAARUFU MOHAMED AND KIUNDU WAWERU/STANDARD]


Kenya: “The only sin my wife committed was to go to church to worship God,” lamented Benson Osinya, 42, who has found himself a widower saddled with the burden of raising four sons after his wife, Veronica Atieno Ouma, was killed by terrorists in the Likoni Church attack.

Tragically, Satrin, one of these sons, is gravely ill in hospital with a bullet embedded in his brain. Satrin was transferred to Kenya National Hospital yesterday and he might be there for three weeks before doctors embark on a delicate surgery to restore his life.

Meanwhile, psychologists indicate the well-being and recovery of Benson’s family will be determined by success of the surgery.

Osinya, a casual labourer who hails from Namboboto village in Funyula of Busia County, says he moved to Mombasa in 1996 with his wife who was born in Budimbidi village in Matayos, Busia County, after their marriage in 1990, to seek employment.

Secured job

When they came to Mombasa, the young family had two sons and they settled at the sprawling Kongowea area of Nyali Constituency and after a while he managed to secure a job at a private security firm.

“I met my wife in Busia. I married her and we got two sons before we moved to Mombasa and settled in Kongowea,” said Mr Osinya at the Mombasa Hospital on Monday.

In 2000, the family shifted to Mtongwe area of Likoni Constituency after he lost his job and they decided to set up a green grocery near their house.

The grocery was run by his 38-year-old wife until her life was cut short by terrorists at Joy of Jesus Church in Likoni.

Police say that five hooded gunmen stormed the church on Sunday at around 10.30am and opened fire indiscriminately on worshippers. According to members of the church, the assailants arrived immediately after the praise and worship session.

Police and Coast Provincial General Hospital administrators said yesterday that the death toll was at six.

Mr Osinya’s is a God-fearing family and that Sunday it is only the head of the unit who did not attend the church service after he was called for some casual work near the church.

The family, according to Mr Osinya, had attended services at the church for the last one year to “praise and worship our God”.

“She woke up at 4am to fetch vegetables which she would sell after the church service,” he said as he broke down in tears when The Standard team caught up with him at Coast Provincial General Hospital on Monday.

He says it is at Mtongwe where they gave birth to two more sons, including Satrin Osinya, the infant with the bullet in his skull.

The bullet, doctors say, may have passed through the boy’s mother who shielded him from the gunfire.

Police have since arrested 59 suspects after the attack but most of them were yesterday charged with ‘loitering’.

For now, that is not Mr Osinya’s biggest worry.

He has his wife’s funeral to arrange and a son scheduled for a delicate operation to remove a bullet in his head.

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