Pain of a Kenyan slum dweller under criminal gangs and police

February 24, 2016 5:25 pm


A trend observed in the report shows that slum dwellers do not report 'minor' injuries from criminal gangs, "As they can live with this."/JOSEPH MURAYA
A trend observed in the report shows that slum dwellers do not report ‘minor’ injuries from criminal gangs, “As they can live with this.”/JOSEPH MURAYA
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – From Kinyago slums within Eastleigh area, one can see the magnificent view of the Nairobi skyline.

A few kilometres from the slum is set of bungalows casting a sharp contrast to life in Kinyago.

  • Slum dwellers as painted in a new report by human rights NGO Independent Medico Legal Unit and ascertained by Capital FM News live in fear of both police and organised criminal gangs.
  • According to the report, 44pc of slum dwellers are victims of violence from organised criminal gangs while 26pc from police, 17pc encountered violence from their neighbours.
  • Eighty three percent of the victims, as detailed in the report are aged between 18-45 years.

“What do you have as your security?” a paralegal officer asked the Capital FM News crew pursuing a story on violence in slum areas.

The officer who sought anonymity explains that for you to “successfully pursue your stories you need to be ‘armed’. It’s a different world.”

“You need money to pay a number of criminal gangs in the slum,” he went on to clarify.

Another precautionary measure is we carry as less items as possible. “You just need a phone. You look so official which is not good. You need to try a camouflage to fit in.”

He also cautions against seeking security from the police.

“They see police officers like their enemies. Many people here, youths mostly have had a bad encounter with police because the level of violence and crime is high,” he says.

All this time, the officer, though well known in the area looks uneasy. “They will ask about your mission here…no one wants to be seen as working with the police.”

Simon Muiruri, a colleague, now standing a few inches behind me pokes my back and whispers, tension… what’s the situation down there?”

He seems reluctant to proceed but we keep on walking. The paralegal officer guiding us through decides to ignore his question.

The destination is Kinyago stadium, a small field within the heart of the slum.

The stadium has a perimeter wall which is full of spray painted graphics and writings, a desperate way for the residents, mostly victims of violence from criminal gangs and police to vent out.

“Don’t fear the enemy who attacks you but the fake friend who hacks you,” one of the messages reads.

“Maisha Ni fupi, Kifo Ni lazima) Life is short, Death is a must) another reads.

A few metres, still on the wall, one can see hundreds of names.

“They were all killed by police officers, some over crime while others were innocent,” the officer explains as he beckons one of the victims to come and narrate his experience.

John (not his real name) is well known in the slum and is a reformed gangster. “I am now a saved brethren,” he says.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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