Saturday, July 3, 2010

Two dead after Vuvuzela fight

Ann Akinyi, the widow of Francis Otieno, who died after being stabbed by another man in a bar brawl in Nairobi. Photos/JAMES NJUGUNA

Ann Akinyi, the widow of Francis Otieno, who died after being stabbed by another man in a bar brawl in Nairobi. Photos/JAMES NJUGUNA 

By FRED MUKINDA

Two men died over the blowing of a vuvuzela in a bar in Nairobi on Friday night during the Ghana-Uruguay World Cup quarter-final match.

Francis Otieno, a Kenyan, was stabbed outside Kunda Kindu pub in Githurai 45 estate by an unidentified Ethiopian man reportedly incensed by Mr Otieno’s continuously blowing a vuvuzela while watching the match.

Mr Otieno was pronounced dead on arrival in hospital where he had been driven by a patron of an adjacent pub.

Eyewitnesses

Other fans reacted by lynching Mr Otieno’s attacker. Eyewitnesses told the Sunday Nation that they dragged the man from his house, frog-marched him outside and then descended on him with kicks, blows, clubs and stones.

The killings come barely two weeks after Form Three student Lawrence Asava, 17, died of injuries he sustained after a fight with colleagues following the outcome of another World Cup match between  New Zealand and Italy.
The matches are being broadcast live locally on the national TV channel KBC, Kiss TV as well as on the pay TV channel Supersport. Mr Otieno, a mechanic, was seated beside a friend who identified himself only as Kamau when his attacker entered the pub.

“He bought a cigarette at the counter and was walking out when he stopped and started exchanging words with OT (Otieno). I did not hear exactly what they were saying, but OT  took the vuvuzela and blew it to his direction. He walked out saying he would return,” said Kamau.

The match stood at 1-1, and Ghana had been awarded a penalty when Mr Otieno dashed outside blowing the vuvuzela.

“Shortly after people outside the pub started shouting. I ran out and found OT running after the Ethiopian with the vuvuzela,” Kamau added.

Mr Otieno fell on the ground, bleeding profusely from his stomach.

Boniface Kimani, who was drinking at the adjacent Exovilla bar, drove Mr Otieno to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The car’s back seat was stained with blood, and Mr Otieno’s yellow vuvuzela was still there as Mr Kimani spoke to the Sunday Nation. Earlier Mr Otieno was at Exovilla bar where he bought a few drinks and danced while blowing the vuvuzela before returning to the other bar, where he also worked as a bouncer.

“We came back from the hospital and realised the foreigner had been beaten to death,” Mr Kimani said.

Ardent fan

Mr Otieno’s wife Ann Akinyi, 17, described him as an ardent football fan.

“He left the house at 11 a.m. and promised he would be back at 3 p.m. He had not returned by midnight; I was not worried because I knew he was watching football. He had also told me he preferred watching important matches with friends at the bar,” she said.

She is seven months pregnant; the couple did not have other children.

Kasarani police chief Leonard Omolo said his officers interviewed witnesses, and preliminary findings showed the deaths were occasioned by a disagreement over a football match. Ghana lost the match in a penalty shootout, ending hopes of the country being the first African country to qualify for World Cup semi-finals.

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