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Mother with baby strapped on her back hit by stray bullet from barracks

RIFT VALLEY
By Michael Ollinga | December 11th 2015

She was picking vegetables in the garden outside her house on Wednesday evening when an object pierced her left shoulder.

She lost consciousness and later woke up in hospital with a bandage on her shoulder.

Elizabeth Chemwetich, 23, was lucky that her baby, who was strapped on her back, was unharmed by what she would later learn was stray bullet.

The housewife is among five people from Buhemba village who have been hit by stray bullets from the neighbouring Moi Barracks Recruits Training School (RTS).

“I am lucky to be alive and grateful to God that my baby is okay. If the bullet hit me in the head or my baby, there would be a funeral here,” Ms Chemwetich said Thursday.

Musa Kosgey, a village elder at Buhemba, says that the Government has overlooked their plight by refusing to change the direction of the trainees’ shooting range away from human settlement.

“We have lost one person and four others have been injured. The Government does not follow up on these cases and has never given a cent for treatment or compensation of the victims. This demeans our dignity as Kenyans,” he said.

On May 5, 2011 Eunice Mutai lost her daughter Millicent Chepkosgey.  She was going home for lunch from the nearby Kabtebeng’wet Primary School when she was hit.

“I had made lunch for Millicent. I was called by neighbours who told me that my daughter had been rushed to RTS Hospital after a stray bullet hit her in the head.”

Isaac Lagat, a teacher at Kabtebeng’wet Primary School, said despite their complaints, the military has done nothing to stop the deaths and injuries.

Next bullet

“Children of Kabtebeng’wet and Kolongei have to wait for the gun sounds to stop before they go home, there is also fear at the shopping centre where Chepkosgey was hit and killed because we are uncertain where the next bullet will lodge,” said Mr Lagat.

Military Spokesperson Colonel David Obonyo termed the Wednesday incident unfortunate. He said the military is working on a long-term solution to the problem.

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