Govt denies hand in Eldoret street family killings

Friday October 21 2016

Special Programmes Principal Secretary Josepheta Mukobe addressing the press on October 21, 2016 after holding talks with Uasin Gishu County officials over street families in Eldoret town. PHOTO | DENNIS LUBANGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Special Programmes Principal Secretary Josepheta Mukobe addressing the press on October 21, 2016 after holding talks with Uasin Gishu County officials over street families in Eldoret town. PHOTO | DENNIS LUBANGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DENNIS LUBANGA
By DENNIS LUBANGA
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The Government has dismissed claims that it was behind the killing of members of street families in Eldoret town.

Special Programmes Principal Secretary Josepheta Mukobe said that there was no evidence to prove that law enforcers were behind the killings.

“Most of these children engage in fist fights killing each other or are killed by members of the public after engaging in suspected criminal acts,” said Ms Mukobe.

In June this year, two members of the Uasin Gishu County Assembly petitioned the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to open investigations into the killing of street children.

Langas Ward Rep Francis Muya and his Huruma counterpart Peter Chomba accused the County government of failing to take action against their enforcement officers, who have been accused of committing the acts.

This followed the killing of six street children in the town in a span of three months.

But addressing journalists on Friday at the Uasin Gishu County headquarters, after holding talks with the County Security team led by County Commissioner Abdi Hassan and Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno, Ms Mukobe said that plans were underway to establish a rescue and rehabilitation centre in the area to accommodate street families.

“I am happy to report to you that we have held fruitful discussions with the County Government. They have agreed to give us a piece of land to set up a temporary rescue and rehabilitation centre for the street families before we construct a permanent one later on,” she said.

Mr Chemno also denied claims that his enforcement officers were behind the murder of the street children.

“It is not true that members of street families in Eldoret are being killed by our law enforcement officers or even police officers because there has never been a post-mortem report to that effect,” said Chemno.

Street Families Rehabilitation Trust Fund chairperson Ms Lucy Yinda who accompanied the PS said that they will use professional social workers to rescue the families from the streets.

“We have about 1, 200 members of street families in Eldoret which is a very small number compared to recent reports that these children were around 20, 000,” she said.

“We are going to train our social workers so that they can help us in bringing these families from the street to the rescue centre so that we can start the family identification and rehabilitation processes,” said Ms Yinda.

In May, operations in the town were paralyzed after street children engaged police in running battles following the death of four of their colleagues.

The agitated street urchins dumped the body of their colleague outside Governor Jackson Mandago’s office.

They claimed that their colleague drowned in River Sosian while trying to run away from county askaris.

They stated that four of their colleagues had died as a result of frequent clashes with the authorities.

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