A six-month-old baby whom doctors say is in critical condition after being allegedly hit by a police officer in Kisumu County is among tens of people in hospital following protests against the presidential election results announced on Friday.
The infant, who has since slipped into a coma, was admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) on arrival. She sustained head injuries early Saturday morning when police stormed houses in Kisumu City’s Nyalenda slum “in pursuit of rioters”.
“There were small pockets of bleeding inside the brain that have led to the child going into a coma,” said Aga Khan Hospital’s medical director, Dr Sam Oula. “The baby sustained serious head injuries that led to internal bleeding. She is under observation.”
Baby Samantha Pendo’s parents said she was hit on the head by police officers who stormed their house after they refused to open for fear of being beaten up.
BROKE THE DOOR
Her mother Lancer Achieng’ told the Nation that two officers broke the door and hit her husband, before a third beat her to the ground and hit the baby on the head.
“It all started at 1am, when police stormed our house,” said Ms Achieng’. “They beat me on the legs and arms. I was carrying the baby in my arms, they hit her with a club on the head.
“When the police left, we took the baby to Oasis Hospital in Nyalenda but they could not handle her case. We, therefore, rushed her to Aga Khan Hospital.”
Her husband Joseph Abanja said the anti-riot police had threatened to break into the house and shoot them.
“They kept shouting that they would shoot us if we didn’t let them in,” said Mr Abanja. “Finally, they threw teargas canisters into the house and beat up my wife and our two children.”
Mr Abanja, 34, was admitted to Jaramogi Odinga Oginga Teaching and Referral Hospital on Sunday morning with swollen arms and head injuries.
Police have, however, denied using excessive force to disperse the protesters, with Nyanza Regional Co-ordinator Wilson Njega saying: “The police were under instruction to use less force and teargas canisters.”
The protests, widespread in Nyanza region, National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s stronghold, began soon after the coalition rejected the election results.
Property in some urban centres was destroyed in riots.