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Angry youths rough up doctors' union officials in Bomet

Health & Science
 Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto.

Several people were injured when rowdy youths stormed a meeting between doctors' union officials and medics from Bomet County at a local hotel yesterday.

The meeting between Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) officials and the doctors ended in disarray after the youths violently evicted them.

Hell broke loose minutes after Governor Isaac Ruto left a meeting with Narok West MP Patrick ole Ntutu to join the doctors at Fair Hills Hotel.

The goons descended on the doctors who were meeting over the ongoing national strike to press for better pay, among other grievances, with kicks and blows.

The youths arrived on motorbikes and private vehicles shortly after the governor had arrived.

They surrounded the union officials and the doctors, overturned tables before pouring the drinks the medics were taking. They later roughed them up and even tore their clothes.

Journalists were not spared as the youths attacked them and even took their phones as the scribes tried to capture the turn of events.  

Mr Isaiah Kiplang'at, a reporter with Kong'asis FM, is nursing injuries after the goons attacked him and took his phone before handing it back. They accused him of filming them without their permission. 

"You must be one of them. That is why you are recording us despite our warning that no one should take photos or record videos," one of the youths ranted as he rained kicks and blows on the reporter.

It was Ruto's bodyguard who saved the reporter after he was attracted by the journalist's wails as the youths beat him senseless.

The youths only left after ensuring the doctors and union officials had cleared from the venue.

KMPDU Secretary General Ouma Oluga and the union's chairman Samuel Oroko condemned the youths who he said had accompanied the governor.

"I was beaten up by the goons who stormed our meeting with doctors from Bomet. They even tore female doctors' clothes. This is unacceptable and the governor must be held to account," said Dr Oluga.

The officials who spoke from Narok where they fled to claimed Ruto unleashed the youths on them after they declined to share the agenda of their meeting with him.

"The governor wanted to be part of the meeting but we refused. He left briefly and returned to warn us we would be attacked if we didn't leave," said Davji Atallah, South Rift KMPDU secretary.

Oluga claimed the governor drew his gun at some pointand threatened them.

"He said we should disperse immediately or face his wrath," he said. 

The union has dismissed an agreement that local officials signed with the county government awarding doctors a 15 per cent pay rise.

But in a swift rejoinder, the governor denied threatening doctors' union officials with a gun. He said he is not licensed to carry a weapon.

"Ask the person making those wild claims to prove them. I have never applied for a gun licence and I do not own a gun. That is nonsense and he should stop cooking things up," Ruto said yesterday.

Ruto denied claims he called the youths to attack the doctors and officials of their union.

The governor accused the union of trying to disrupt health services in the county. "The youths were irked by the union officials' action when they stormed Longisa Hospital and harassed doctors on duty. They had been trailing them from the hospital."

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