Children among victims of post-election violence in Kenya | Africa | DW | 15.08.2017
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Children among victims of post-election violence in Kenya

Following the August 8 presidential election in Kenya, one child was shot dead by a stray bullet while playing on the balcony of her home in Mathare. In Kisumu a baby is in intensive care.

A six-month-old baby lies in the Intensive Care Unit at the Aga Khan Hospital in the port city of Kisumu after she slipped into a coma on August 12, 2017.

Her parents say her plight is the result of excessive force used by police after last week's presidential election.

The baby's mother, Lenzer Achieng, says her daughter was beaten by a baton on the head. 

Both parents also sustained serious injuries from the beating.

‘It was around one am, we were asleep. They knocked on the door and we did not open it. [.....] they threw a teargas canister inside the house. After that my husband opened the door and they started beating us. I was beaten on the legs and my arm.' Lenzer said.

The Medical Superintendent at the Aga Khan Hospital Sam Oula said the baby is in critical condition.

"The six month old baby, Samantha Pendo, had severe head injuries due to the bleeding inside the brain which led to a build-up of pressure inside the head. We are doing our best but her condition remains quite critical," Oula said.

Research shows that tear-gas exposure can cause severe inflammation that can take weeks to heal, as well as chemical burns to the skin.

Stephanie Moraa, in a green dress, (Geoffrey Mosoku)

Eight year old Stephanie Moraa was shot dead during the protests in Mathare

Who shot Stephanie Moraa?

Meanwhile a family in the Mathare slum district of Nairobi is mourning the death of a a young girl, killed by a stray bullet while playing on the balcony of their flat.

Confusion is still rife as to who shot eight-year-old Stephanie Moraa.

Nairobi police boss, Japheth Koome, told journalists that the police were forced to engage in a shoot-out with criminal gangs and that Stephanie may have been caught up in the exchange of fire.

‘There was a gangster who was armed and he was firing aimlessly and it was very unfortunate that the girl was caught up in the situation,' Koome said.

A post mortem conducted on the deceased's body at Chiromo Mortuary Hospital showed that she was shot with a bullet that can only be discharged by an AK47 rifle or a G3 gun.

Her family is currently preparing the burial arrangements.

Ananti riot policeman attempts to disperse people in Mathare as a woman walks by (Reuters/T. Mukoya)

An anti-riot policeman attempts to disperse people in Mathare

Children at the center of chaos

A number of non-governmental organizations have expressed their concern over the experiences of women and children after the polls.

‘We note with concern that women and children are the most affected when violence is left to rule. The government should deescalate any form of violence,' read a statement from a network of civil society organizations, made up of Acted, ActionAid, Trocaire, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Concern Worldwide.

The executive director of Kenya's Independent Medico-Legal Unit, Peter Kiama, also condemned the excessive use of police force used against civilians.

Kiama also called on the Independent Policing and Oversight Authorities and the Internal Áffairs Unit to commence investigations into police officers raiding homes and beating up people.

A statement released by the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHCR) showed that a total of 24 people had died during the unrest witnessed in the country after Kenyans cast their votes. 

Grafffiti saying 'Kenya is bigger than politics' (DW/A. Bakkar-Jalloh)

Graffiti seen in Nairobi

Nairobi recorded the highest number of deaths at 17. There was also one death in Kisumu, two in Homa Bay, two in Migori, and two in Siaya.   

KNHCR chairman Kagwiria Mbogori said that they had received reports of the police using excessive force and brutality against civilians.

Mbogori also said there had been misuse of firearms by the police in dealing with members of the public who were exercising their right to peaceful assembly as enshrined in the constitution.

"KNCHR has information about people treated in Kisumu for wounds inflicted by blunt objects and this has further spread to people's homes, where there are allegations of police forcefully entering into people's home,' Mbogori said.

The police have denied these allegations.

Incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of the August 8 elections after garnering 8,203,290 votes to beat opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga who garnered 6,762,224 votes.

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