Elections 2017

Six-month-old baby fights for life in hospital after brutal attack by police

Six-month-old baby Samantha Pendo, who is fighting for her life at a Kisumu hospital, has become the face of police brutality across Nyanza as security forces quell protests over the election outcome.

The baby is admitted at the Aga Khan Hospital's Intensive Care Unit with her tiny head swathed by a huge bandage.

Reports indicate she was hit on the head by police who broke into her parents' house in Nyalenda estate, while pursuing protestors.

Her sad story emerged on Saturday morning as police denied claims that they had killed up to six people on Friday night soon after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declared Uhuru Kenyatta winner of the presidential elections.

The police also denied using excessive force to quell protests amid reports that heavily armed officers operating under the cover of darkness, broke doors and pulled people from their bedrooms.

Sunday Standard has independently learnt that some bodies with gunshot wounds were taken to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital mortuary at dawn yesterday. Police confirmed four deaths, two of which were as a result of lynchings in Nyalenda.

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One other person identified as Vincent Ochieng,' 19, was reportedly shot dead at Dago in Kisumu West. His mother Milka Amigo and area Member of the County Assembly Paul Okiri confirmed the death.

But Kisumu County Police Commandant Tutus Yoma denied reports that four had been killed, saying he was only aware of Ochieng's death.

Nyanza internal security coordinator Wilson Njenga also denied claims of mass killings and brutality in Kisumu. "We can only confirm one death. If there is any other death, then it has not been reported to us," he told journalists.

Ochieng's mother said he was returning to their Ulalo home after watching an English Premier League football match when he was shot.

Silence the people

Mr Okiri said youths engaged police in running battles throughout the night.

In Siaya, the body of a boda boda rider identified as Zachary Ouma, 30, was discovered in the town yesterday morning. His brother John Okumbe said he had a bullet wound on the chest.

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But Siaya OCPD Ancent Kaloki denied claims that the man was a victim of police killing, saying he had been stabbed.

The Sunday Standard team visited the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital where five people have been admitted, three of them with gunshot wounds.

The number had reportedly increased by the time of going to press. The hospital's Chief Executive Officer Peter Okoth said two patients had wounds inflicted by blunt objects.

Former Karachuonyo MP Phoebe Asiyo described Friday night's security clampdown on Kisumu as   worrying and frightening.

"Why did they have to use aerial and ground security teams to silence the people of Kisumu. I am told frightened women and children were beaten up in their homes. The police service should find better ways of dealing with such situations," said Mrs Asiyo.

She added: "I would also want to appeal to our leader Raila Odinga to speak out about what is going on in Kisumu. His silence is worrying us," said Asiyo.

The former MP advised the youth in Nyanza to maintain peace and stop provoking the police.

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Asiyo called for investigations to establish why  baby Samantha was attacked

The baby's parents Joseph Abanja and his wife Lenser Achieng were not spared during the attack. Mr Abanja said police lobbed teargas into their one-roomed mud-walled house at Nyalenda Kilo.

"They called on us to open the door but we kept quiet. They kicked the door but it would not open, then I heard one of them saying let us drop some teargas inside," he said.

This forced the couple to leave the house with the baby and that is when they were attacked by police.

The 34-year old Abanja sustained injuries on the head and hands. The couple's eight-year-old first born daughter was still missing on Saturday.

In Nyamasaria, Everline Anyango said the officers broke their gate and lobbed teargas into their house.

Police attacks were also reported in Mowlem, Kondele and its outskirts with residents living near the road now living in fear of those who should be protecting them.

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