NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – Ten out of the 40 mentally ill patients who escaped from Mathari Mental Hospital on Sunday morning have returned to the facility.
According to Starehe police chief Samuel Anampiu, two of them went back on their own, while eight others were taken back by their families.
“We are now talking of 30 mental in-patients who are not back. Some have come on their own volition while some were captured and brought back by their relatives.”
“Many scaled over the wall and went through Mathare area and a few confident ones used the main gate. When they are traced they should be brought back for their medication,” Anampiu added.
Police had earlier launched a manhunt for the patients who escaped from the mental hospital after overpowering the three guards who were on duty on Sunday morning.
“We have their information… we can trace their homes and they have relatives so it makes it easier for us to trace them. They are not criminals and therefore they don’t pose a danger to the public,” he added.
Anampiu says the 40 were part of 75 patients who broke out from ward 9, after forcing the metallic door open.
The remaining 35 were detained after they failed to leave the hospital’s compound. All the escapees were male.
Anampiu who visited the facility accompanied by the officer in charge of Muthaiga police station Bernard Muriuki admitted that welfare issues could have been a reason for the ‘escape.’
“They must have strategised, it is not possible that without proper planning that 75 people can break two doors and more than half of them run away,” he explained.
One of the patients Kevin Kemboi who was brought back on Monday afternoon by his family says that he escaped after being led by another patient who had announced that the nurses at the hospital were on strike.
He says that apart from the beddings everything else at the institution was working well for him.
“I just followed one of the patients who said that our nurses were on strike then made my way home. At home I realised the environment was different. I felt like I was being disturbed by snakes and decided to go back. It is the place I need to be,” he said before breaking into tears.
“The only problem here is the beddings. We cannot sleep with bedbugs unless you have been given some drugs,” he added still in tears.
According to a family member who brought him back from their home in South ‘C’, Kemboi was a bright boy who had passed his examination but got into illegal drug use.
The family member who requested anonymity said that the family was shocked after Kemboi who had been at the institution for four days came back on Sunday.