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Thursday, August 17, 2017

[VIDEO] Agony as 6-month-old infant slips into coma after police beating

Joseph Abanja looks at his six-month-old infant who slipped into a coma after police clubbed her in Kisumu, August 10, 2017, /COURTESY
Joseph Abanja looks at his six-month-old infant who slipped into a coma after police clubbed her in Kisumu, August 10, 2017, /COURTESY

A six-month-old baby is fighting for her life at Aga Khan Hospital Kisumu after being beaten by anti-riot police at Kilo area in Nyalenda estate.

The infant is in a coma after sustaining serious head injuries when a police officer clubbed her on Friday night.

Hospital superintendent Dr Sam Oula said the baby has internal bleeding as a result of pressure build-up in the head.

“She was brought at the facility between 4am and 5am (on Saturday morning). So far there is no change as she sustained severe head injuries,” he told The Star on phone. “We are hoping things turn around. We are on treatment, it is a day at time."

The Star found the baby under close supervision by medics led by Oula.

Lenser Achieng, the mother, said police lobbed tear gas cannisters into their home at 2am on Saturday during house-to-house raids following post-election protests.

“My husband was forced to open the door as we were being chocked by the teargas,” the 29-year-old said.

Police then dragged her husband Joseph Abanja out and beat him up before turning on Achieng.

She sustained limb and abdominal injuries as she tried to rescue her baby.

"When I fell down, one of the officers hit the baby on the head with a club. She became unconscious and we thought she was dead," the mother said.

“We desperately visited a number of hospitals around but all were closed then we took her to Aga Khan,” Achieng said.

The family appealed for well-wishers to support them as they are unable to meet the hospital bills.

 “I went through a lot to have this baby. I have had two miscarriages before. I am worried about the status of my baby and I do hope God will see us through,” Achieng said.

'STOP LYING TO THE WORLD'

Abanja also sustained serious head and limb injuries. He said they were assaulted by police yet they were not among the protestors.

"Police were breaking into peoples’ houses. At my house, they kicked the door but we had placed chairs to block them from accessing. One of them shouted 'Do you know we have guns and we can shoot you, open the door',” Abanja said.

“After I declined to open the door, they threw teargas into my house. They beat us including my children. My eight-year old girl was beaten and ran way…I only found her on Saturday morning after I was from the hospital,” he added.

Abanja called on local and international human rights to thoroughly investigate the attacks. He accused  the government for terrorising innocent citizens who were quietly sleeping in their houses.

“I am just shocked that police who are suppose to maintain law and order can storm a house of a law abiding citizen and assault them including an infant,” Abanja added.

He said the government should stop lying to the world that there those are breaking into people’s shops and houses yet it is the police breaking into homes and various premises.

Acting Interior CS Fred Matiang'i has come under fire for claiming police are not using live bullets against protestors, leaving up to 11 dead in Nairobi and Kisumu.

In Mathare, a 10-year-old girl is among tens who have been shot dead in protests against President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election.

Matiang'i alleges that only criminals are facing the full face of the law.

More on this: Former CJ Mutunga fires at Matiang'i, says criminal gangs have rights

IPOA VISITS INFANT

A team from the Independent Policing Oversight Authority visited the family and the infant at the hospital and promised justice to the family.

They collected used teargas canisters at the home on Sunday.

In Obunga estate, Kisumu town, Moses Oduor, 28, was dragged out of his home by police who beat him with clubs.

"My brother was not out fighting them. He was not rioting. He was beaten ruthlessly by the police before being rescued my sister who lives next to him," a brother Charles Ochieng said.

Ochieng said his sister came outside screaming at the police and asked why they are beating her brother.

Kisumu Residents Voice Association chair Audi Ogada called for speedy investigations into police brutality.

He said the official death toll stands at one but reports indicate that there more may have been killed by police.

Ogada said 13 people have been admitted at various hospitals with gunshot injuries out of the 43 people who sustained various injuries.

“We want police to tell us the whereabouts of bodies which they collected because it is key to the families, community and world to know the truth,” he said.

Nyanza regional coordinator Wilson Njega refuted claims that protesters have been killed by police. He said those killed were those looting shops.

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