Three policemen are among five people nursing bullet wounds after a funeral service turned chaotic in Trans-Nzoia on Monday.
The funeral service for Likuyani MP Enock Kibunguchy’s driver, Mr Douglas Wakacha, at Mukuyu village in Kiminini was attended by top Ford-Kenya leaders.
They, too, were caught in the gunfight.
All seemed calm until Kakamega County Sports Executive Robert Kundu Makhanu arrived, only to be met with boos from an agitated crowd as Dr Kibunguchy gave his condolences.
Mr Wakacha, Dr Kibunguchy’s fallen driver, was shot dead by armed gangsters last week at a motel in Soy Market, Kakamega County.
Lugari head of criminal investigations, Mr Bakari Ndzovu, said the murder is still under investigations and no arrests have been made so far.
Mr Makhanu had viewed the body before proceeding to where Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula and others were seated.
But the crowd turned rowdy against him, attacking him with wooden sticks and crude objects while ejecting him from the funeral, forcing the police to fire in the air.
The bodyguards of three Ford-Kenya legislators — Dr Kibunguchy (Likuyani), Dr Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren), and Mr Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi) suffered bullets wounds on the legs in a confrontation between police and irate mourners.
A member of the local County Assembly, Mr Ben Wanjala (Kapomboi) and a funeral-goer also suffered bullet wounds.
SCAMPERED FOR SAFETY
Dignitaries and other mourners scampered for safety as bullets rent the air as police battled to rescue Mr Makhanu from the mob.
The bodyguards were shot as they shielded Mr Makhanu from the angry mourners. The county minister was whisked away in a police car.
The injured were rushed to Kiminini Cottage Mission Hospital, where Dr Kibunguchy’s bodyguard, Mr Edward Wanjala, was treated and discharged.
The rest were referred to Kitale Level Five Hospital, where they were undergoing treatment last evening.
When normalcy was restored and the funeral proceeded, Mr Wetang’ula condemned the shoot-out, claiming police has used excessive force to quell the violence.
He petitioned Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinet to order investigations into the fracas and hasten the arrest of the killers of the late Wakacha.
“We want the IG to issue firm instructions and ensure that the assailants are arrested and made to face the law,” appealed Mr Wetang’ula.
Dr Kibunguchy, who said the killing of his driver was an attempt on his life, said Monday’s violence was engineered by the same people who killed Mr Wakacha.
“It seems my opponents wanted the police to injure us,” he said. “I would like to tell the police to do their work within the confines of the law.”
Trans Nzoia County police commander, Samson Ole Kine, said no arrests had been made by last evening.
— Reporting by Onyango K’Onyango, Barnabas Bii, and Gerald Bwisa.