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Post-mortem reveals six Kakamega pupils died of suffocation

Thursday February 6 2020

Kakamega Primary School head teacher Dickson

Kakamega Primary School head teacher Dickson Wanyangu (second left) and staff at the institution on February 6, 2020. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Six of the14 pupils who were killed in a stampede at Kakamega Primary School on Monday, died of suffocation, postmortem results have revealed.

Western Region Government Pathologist Dickson Mchana said one of the pupils, Simeon Waweru, sustained a fracture on the left shoulder.

Speaking at the Kakamega County Hospital mortuary on Thursday, Dr Mchana said they were conducting limited postmortem tests on the bodies since the deaths were not contestable.


He said that although the exercise was still going on, it was possible that the learners died from asphyxiation.

“We are also racing against time to finalise the postmortems and prepare the bodies for collection by the families for a requiem mass to be held at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega,” said Dr Mchana.


This appears to reinforce reports indicating that the pupils fell over each other during the stampede.  

Police are still carrying out investigations and have recorded statements from teachers, pupils and other witnesses to establish what triggered the commotion, which claimed 14 lives and left 39 learners nursing injuries. 

Two of the learners are still in the Intensive Care Unit at the Kakamega County General and Referral Hospital, while four others in the wards had made a recovery and were due for discharge.


On Wednesday, parents of the 14 dead learners demanded to be represented by a lawyer during the postmortems. They complained that the postmortems had been rushed.

They later met the County Commissioner, Ms Pauline Dola, who requested them to allow the exercise to proceed as planned.

“We just don’t want to have the postmortems conducted as a formality; we want to establish what caused the death of our children,” said Mr Obadiah Aluvisia, who lost his son, Fidel Kimbutie.

He added: “We are surprised that there are plans by the [Kakamega County General and Referral] hospital to conduct postmortems without seeking our consent. If they want to do them as a formality, then we are requesting to be allowed to proceed to bury our children without the examinations,” said Mr Aluvisia.

Ms Dola said the parents will get support from the national and county governments.  

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said the county government will waive all the charges, including mortuary expenses, and support the affected families.