NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 5 – A student at Multimedia University and two security guards will have to live with bullets lodged in their bodies, after they were shot by police during the recent demonstrations against rogue drivers plying Magadi Road.
The student has a bullet in the chest, while one of the guards has a bullet lodged under the armpit while the other one has it in the neck.
According Nairobi Women’s Hospital medics, Rongai branch, it is safer to have them live with the bullets to avoid more health complications.
“Metallic objects can cause no harm in the body if at least they’re not moving or likely to cause bacterial infection,” a medic who sought anonymity told Capital FM News.
Their condition, in case the bullets are removed, will be ‘50/50′, “that’s why they are better off with them.”
They were among six people including three students who were shot by police officers during the September 27 protests.
The protests that began peacefully turned chaotic when police lobbed teargas and opened fire to disperse the agitated students who had blocked sections of Magadi Road outside the university, paralyzing transport for hours.
It was after the death of a first year student, 18 years old Cynthia Akoth following a road accident that left three others dead and seriously injured dozens others.
One of the security guards, 24 years old Edwin Kiprono during an interview with Capital FM News at his hospital bed, explained how the shooting happened.
“I was at the main gate where most students were standing… Some were throwing stones at police, “he recalled. “Things turned chaotic after anti-riot police officers started moving in a bid to push the students further. Some were throwing teargas at them while others were firing live bullets. I decided to take cover but in the process, I was hit by something which I came to realize later was a bullet. ”
He has called on the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to ensure that the officers involved are held culpable.
Kiprono also wants the National Police Service to compensate him and take care of his medical expenses.
“I was not among the protesting students, ” he said. “What they did was unacceptable and worrying since they were supposed to restore order and not to shoot live bullets at the students.”
Emmanuel Waswa, a fourth year Mass Communication student has a bullet lodged in his chest, and just like in Kiprono’s case, it cannot be removed, at least not for now according to doctors.
Waswa also wants NPS to cater for his medical expenses as well as put to book the officers who opened fire at the students.
The incident attracted condemnation from right groups who accused police of using excessive force against the students.
It comes a time when the National Police Service is struggling with a dented image that’s coupled with mistrust from the members of public, over extra judicial killings claims.
According to Independent Medico – Legal Unit, more than 100 people have been killed by police since January this year.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaisserry however in defence of police said some deaths were justifiable since ‘suspects’ could have posed a threat to officers.
“The allegations are clearly unsubstantiated and given in bad faith to undermine the efforts made by police and other security agencies in managing and controlling crime in this country,” the Interior CS said on Tuesday.
Among the victims of police brutality include lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and their cab driver Joseph Muiruri.
Police in an ongoing case were accused of torturing the three before killing them.
“There is no policy whatsoever within the National Police Service to engage in extra-judicial killings,” he said. “Kenya is a country that is governed by law and the police are no exceptions.”
Interior Principal Secretary also shares Nkaissery’s sentiments saying that, “There’s no policy with the National Police Service to engage in extra judicial killings.”
It is a trend that has led the Independent Medico Legal Unit to develop a mobile application – RIPOTI – that will boost the voice of victims of torture in any part of the country, without exposing them to the obvious threats.
Through the app, Kenyans will now be able to report any incident of torture and related incidents using their phones.
The application, will allow Kenyans to either record audio, video or a short narration of an incident.
With advancement in technology and continued uptake of phones, the rights group hopes to reach more Kenyans, with a positive impact expected.