Goons raid War Memorial hospital after reopening

Nakuru residents mill outside Nakuru War Memorial Hospital after the courts ordered its reopening. [Daniel Chege, Stanadrd]

Goons on Thursday afternoon attacked the War Memorial Hospital in Nakuru immediately after it was handed over to the private management. 

The gang of about 200 youths, armed with crude weapons stormed the facility located in the posh Milimani estate and chased away staff who had resumed duty under police escort. 

The hospital Chief Executive Officer Patricia Musale said they were forced to flee following the attack that seemed well organised.

"They warned that they would harm us if we did not leave the hospital. They forced their way in, and we fear for its security. The hospital has equipment and machines worth over Sh200 million," she said. 

Earlier, Nakuru Police Commander Samuel Ndanyi led officers to escort the staff to the facility and ensured they had taken over. 

Ndanyi had initially failed to enforce three court orders previously issued by Justice Millicent Odeny on January 23, 25 and 30,

On Thursday, he appeared at the hospital at around 12.30 pm and waited for about 10 minutes before the main gate was opened by county askaris. 

The county government had taken over the hospital for the last nine days over claims its directors had fraudulently extended the lease for 25 acres of land the facility stands on.

By the time of going to the press, the situation at the hospital was fluid since the media was unable to access it.

In the morning, tension was high owing to a crowd of youths who wanted to be granted access to the facility but only Ndanyi and Ms Musale were allowed in.

The media, the State Counsel Alex Muthuri and the hospital lawyer Chomba Kamau were also allowed to inspect the hospital. 

Some of the departmental rooms were locked, while others had been forced in.

Musale confirmed to The Standard that a DVR machine that recorded footage during the January 23 takeover had been missing.

"We are yet to check all the rooms and confirm if all our equipment and machines are intact and operational," she said.

After making rounds in the hospital, Ndanyi left, accompanied by anti-riot police, leaving ten officers to provide security to the staff.

The county police boss refused to address the media. 

The county enforcement team also left the premises.

"We have respected the court orders, and we have left the premises in the hands of the private company," said Charles Nyanaro, the in-charge enforcement team.  

All police officers also left the scene, leaving the youths at the gate, before they raided the hospital. 

Ndanyi executed the orders after he was on Thursday morning ordered to do so by Justice Anthony Ombwayo, or else he would be sentenced for contempt of court.