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Protests in Kisumu result in two deaths

Two people were shot dead and scores of others injured as police engaged protestors in the lakeside city of Kisumu.

One of the deceased, who was shot in the chest at Nyawita, died at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital as medics tried to resuscitate him.

The second victim, according to the hospital’s management, was brought in already dead and taken directly to the morgue.

This brings to four the total number of lives lost in the three days of protests called by the Azimio coalition to protest against the high cost of living.

Five other people sustained serious gunshot wounds on various parts of their bodies and are currently admitted to the facility.

A nurse at the facility who requested anonymity said medics were overwhelmed by the high number of victims rushed to the facility with gunshot wounds and other injuries as a result of the ongoing protests.

According to records, the victims were shot at Kachok, Manyatta, Nyawita, Obunga, Nyamasaria and Ofunyu areas.

As the protests enter day three, tension remains high in the lakeside city as businesses within the central business district and residential areas remain closed.

For the third day in a row, day schools remained closed, with parents fearing to take their children to school out of apprehension for their safety.

At MM Shah Primary School, the gates remained closed, with security personnel patrolling the compound.

The situation was the same at Highway Primary School and Junior Secondary School, Victoria Primary School, Kibuye Primary School and Kisumu Day Secondary School.

Police officers lobbed tear gas canisters to disperse protestors at Kondele and parts of Nyalenda early morning as they regrouped to embark on day three’s demonstrations.

At Nyalenda slums, residents complained of police officers using brutal force and lobbing tear gas canisters into people’s houses.

Janet Auma, a resident of Nyalenda Kilo, said she has been unable to leave her house since yesterday due to the heavy bombardment of tear gas lobbed by police and gunshots.

“It is very terrifying. My children have not slept. How I wish they could handle this in a humane manner,” she said.

Meanwhile, human rights activists in the area have called for the immediate release of human rights defender Boniface Ogutu.

According to their statement, Ogutu was abducted on Thursday afternoon by plain-clothes police officers who were riding on three motorbikes at Kassagam Flyover in Kisumu East.

“The circumstances surrounding the arrest of Boniface Ogutu raise serious questions about the state of freedom of expression and assembly in Kenya,” read the statement in part.

They asked the government to immediately and unconditionally release the human rights defender.

By Chris Mahandara

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