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Family seeks justice after kin assaulted by police during curfew dies

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A family in Homa Bay County is grieving the killing of a 25-year-old man by the police for allegedly disobeying the curfew by the government in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Calvince Omondi, a boda boda rider, died on Sunday, March 29 from the injuries allegedly inflicted on him by police officers enforcing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s dusk to dawn curfew.

According to the deceased father George Onyango, Omondi was rushed to Rachuonyo South sub-county hospital in Oyugis town on Friday night, after sustaining injuries on his head due to police beating.

He said the officers stopped his son who was on his way to their Saye rural home, beating him up for operating beyond the curfew time.

“They descended on my son at Kosele trading centre and beat him up until he was unconscious before taking him to hospital,” said Onyango.

Omondi is reported to have ferried a customer from Oyugis to Kendu Bay earlier on Friday, March 27, the first day of the curfew, and was on his way back when he met the marauding officers.Onyango said he was informed by Omondi’s friend that he had been assaulted by a group of police officers on his way back to Saye village home in North Kamagak Location.

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Onyango said he rushed to the hospital and found his son unconscious, as he remained speechless till he died on Sunday morning.

“I went to the hospital where he had been taken and found him unconscious. He never talked to anybody until he died this morning,” he told Standard Digital.

He has called on the government to probe the circumstances under which his son died and bring to book the rogue officers who killed his son.

He said the death of his son is a blow to the entire family which depended on him as the breadwinner.“They should have arrested him not killing him, his death has gutted the family,” he said.Omondi left an expectant widow and one child. Accident

But when reached for a response, the police said that Omondi was involved in an accident as he tried to escape the police on a fateful day.According to Rachuonyo South police boss Essau Ochorokodi, Omondi saw the officers manning a roadblock and sped off trying to escape, but hit a bump and crashed.

“He saw police officers and decided to speed with the intention of escaping them. Unfortunately, his motorbike hit a bump after which he fell and hit his head on a culvert,” said Ochorokodi.

He said his officers took the rider to the hospital after realising he was seriously injured in the accident.“The young man was taken to the hospital by our officers after the accident,” said Ochorokodi.

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The police boss challenged the family to present any evidence of assault to his office to enhance investigations into the incident.“The family should provide any evidence of an assault. This will enable us to undertake investigations for an appropriate measure to be taken,” he added.

By Standard

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Lifestyle

‘…time is out just know I did my best,’ says Eric Njoka amid sacking rumours at K24 TV

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Word on the street has it that K24 TV is planning a mass firing soon and it seems many of its employees are ready for anything.

After Betty Kyallo called it quits on May 30, Eric Njoka, a presenter at the Mediamax owned TV station says he’s ready for whatever outcome.

Njoka, who doubles as a morgue attendant, shared a post saying he wasn’t fine and asked his fans not to pray for him because their prayers didn’t work.

Thank you all for your concerns, I am not fine and won’t be for a while but I will make sure to keep smiling. Don’t keep me in any prayers, they don’t work.

Eric Njoka

In a recent Instagram live, Njoka lashed out at Mediamax management for planning to fire people during this Covid-19 and he said,

‘…It’s frustrating so many people. Some have many families and if someone is not going to speak for them then, where I go I will regret why I never spoke for them. I did speak for them because people are really suffering and they can’t speak out.’

View this post on Instagram

This face describes my career as a Journalist “Disappointments, Negativity, Let Downs, Stagnation, Pessimism, Hopelessness and Depression’ but in all my years of practice, I have never questioned or challenged God, rather never asked my creator “Why?” Because I know my shine will come some day. Be Patient, work in total Silence and BELIEVE. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽❤❤ #anchorman #iamnairobian #trending #trendy #gentleman #pictureday #followme #likelike #Kenya #newsman #igerskenya #igafrica #igkenya #goodvibes #gainwithus #gainwithmchina #gainwithspikes #gainwithcarlz #gainwithxtiandela #gainpost #followtrain #gaintrick

A post shared by Eric Kamau Ledama Njoka (@ericnjoka_k24) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/CA0ct5pA386/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Well, Eric Njoka shared a touching message which read,

When my time is out, just know I did my best, diligently, with poise, faith and determination. Feels like dejavù but iriz wat iriz. #Anchorman is still my name.

By Mpasho

READ ALSO:   Here’s the cluster of professions allowed to work during curfew hours
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Keroche heiress’ lover to face murder charge, says police as families disagree

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Out on bond, fisherman says the memories of the time he spent with Tecra Muigai keep him going and that he misses her terribly

Omar Lali Omar, the man now accused of killing the daughter of billionaire Tabitha Karanja, is not angry with those behind his woes even as police confirmed they will press murder charges against him.

He says while in remand, his love for Tecra Muigai and the memories they shared together kept him going. “Although it hurts that I was not there to send her to heaven, I know she is well and she knows I miss her,” Omar told The Standard in an exclusive interview from his home in the island’s Shela village.
He was arrested on May 2 and released on May 29, 13 days after the burial of Tecra in Naivasha. This is what Omar — a 51-year-old fisherman, father of five girls and a boy, three-time divorcee — says of the events of the night of April 23.
He got to the luxury rental house he was sharing with Tecra at around 6pm, had dinner, took some vodka, ate some more and then slept at a couch stretched out on the second floor. The last thing he remembers about the moments before he fell asleep were the plans they had been brooding of a future together.
He is not sure if any dreams visited him that night. But he is sure of a few facts — the loud thud that woke him up, the discovery of her at the bottom of the stairs, a mad dash to a dispensary and later a referral hospital to get Tecra medical attention. However, law enforcement say Omar — a nearly illiterate school drop-out, beach boy, mysterious boat operator with no known stable source of income — has a case to answer.
After a night of drinking and merry making, an argument ensued between him and his lover Tecra. The argument later turned physical and he hit her so hard she fell down a flight of stairs, badly injuring the left side of her face.
“We have enough evidence to prove that it was murder,” DCI boss George Kinoti told The Standard yesterday.
According to the post-mortem, the actual cause of her death was not just inconclusive: Omar and Tecra’s families would not agree on the report. While they agreed on a cause of death — trauma to the left side of the face as a result of a fall down a flight of stairs — they could not agree on what caused the fall. Was it accidental or intentional? Named the only suspect in the death of Tecra going on two months, Omar is yet to be charged with murder but spent 27 days behind prison bars. On the day of his release, all indications were that he would spend another night behind bars.
His mother had all but given up. Tecra’s family, led by lawyer James Orengo, and the prosecution were intent on getting another seven days to continue with their investigations, but the magistrate issued a bond order that shone a light on Omar’s wish to spend the night with his family.
More evidence
The bond was set at Sh300,000 by the courts. The family didn’t have the money so they put up collateral. Title deeds to two pieces of land were submitted. One, for the house that Omar grew up in, the other belonging to his mother’s family.
And the surrender of Omar’s passport. At around 5:30pm, the doors opened and Omar stepped out into the narrow corridor of the cell block. Dreadlocks held back by a colourful hairband, a tri-colour vest and a kikoy trouser, he faced east, knelt down and murmured a prayer to Allah.
A speedboat waited at the main Lamu jetty to take him to the other side of the Island. “Lakini sina amani bado moyoni (I have no peace),” he says. “I know they are missing their daughter too.”
The prosecution indicated that the state was still gathering evidence that would help them piece together events that led to the death. Investigators have made multiple visits to Jaha House, where the two spent most of their times. Multiple statements have been taken from the doctors who attended to her. Omar has been questioned many times.
He had no alibi. He admitted to being in the company of Tecra. To taking her to Shela Dispensary first for first aid, then to King Fahd Referral Hospital for further checks. To calling Tecra’s mother who was away in Nairobi and informing her of her daughter’s deteriorating situation.
He admitted being among those who flew with Tecra to Nairobi aboard an air rescue ambulance. By every account, Tecra was a rare person. Born in May of 1990 in Naivasha, she was the fourth and last born child of Joseph and Tabitha Karanja. On the day she was buried she was eulogised as someone who had created a distinct identity that set her apart from her peers. As an enthusiastic individual full of curiosity.
A curiosity that perhaps led her to Omar’s path on June 6, 2019 when the two met. Now, from the breeze kissed shores of Shela, Omar awaits the wheels of justice to turn. He says he only hopes for two things.
Private burial
“That the wheels turn in my favour and that I never stop seeing her face or hearing her voice every time I close my eyes to dive into the ocean.”
For now, both the Karanjas and the Lalis have only the memories of someone who was central in their lives. Someone who was the glue in their relationship.
“She has left indelible footprints in the hearts of those who knew her,” read her eulogy at the private burial.
by the Standard

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Danger online as traffickers target helpless children

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International organisations have raised a red flag over the spike in online human trafficking and child exploitation as people spend more time at home.

With Covid-19 restrictions and more children spending more time online, human traffickers are using the opportunity to recruit, groom and exploit children and lure adults feeling the pinch of the emaciated economy as a result of the coronavirus.

The concern is even more real after a German was arrested on May 4 in Nairobi in the company of a 13-year-old boy alleged to have been trafficked from Nyalenda in Kisumu.

Thomas Scheller, 71, who is in Kenya illegally, beat all the travel restrictions to travel from Kwale to Kisumu and back to Nairobi.

The boy — one of his victims — was defiled between April 30 and May 4. It took the combined efforts and intelligence of Interpol and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to nab the alleged trafficker classified as a serial offender. Scheller faces six counts of trafficking in persons, child pornography and defilement of five boys aged between 10 and 13.

Local and international organisations attribute the surge in online exploitation of children to the interruption of their physical learning and a change in their daily lives due to confinement affecting many parts of the world.United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Regional Advisor Rachel Harvey estimates that a third of internet users are children, with internet usage increasing by half, following the stay-home orders adopted by most countries to help contain the spread of Covid-19.

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Whereas the increase is positive for continuity of education and social life, Harvey warns that it has put children at risk of online sexual exploitation.

“Before Covid-19, it was estimated that there were 750,000 people looking to connect with children for sexual purposes online at any one time. Opportunity and triggers for offending created by containment are likely to have pushed up that number, as well as demand for child sexual abuse materials,” Harvey says.

With limited physical interaction, global trends further single out increased and growing demand for child abuse material. This has given traffickers opportunities to devise new avenues of animating the ‘lucrative’ business of sex tourism by leveraging on the online space to prey on susceptible and unwitting users.

Lawrence Okoth, Internet Crimes against Children Investigator, confirms the nerve-racking trend in Kenya, with the unit based in Nairobi receiving about 300 cases per month of child abuse material and messages meant to lure and recruit victims. “The numbers are quite high and many more actually are not being reported,” Okoth says.

The traffickers are tactical in their approach, hence the big and growing number of victims. Okoth says traffickers stalk their victims. First, they identify their vulnerabilities and then offer a shoulder to lean on and camouflaging as ‘good friends’ with ‘common interests’ such that sharing of nudes becomes easy.Inadvertently, victims find themselves entangled in a compromising and perilous situation.

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“Traffickers build confidence with their victims online by sharing conversations that lead to connection and consequently detach their victims from their parents/guardians.

This connection paves way for physical connection offline. With the new-found ‘friendship’ as a stepping stone to invade the victim’s life, traffickers manipulate their victims and whenever their missions are not accomplished, the shared nudes and erotic videos become weapons of blackmail used to force them to comply with any sort of demands, which also include substance abuse.

“In most cases, the traffickers order the victim to recruit other students or their friends and with time, the chain grows and the number of victims multiplies,” Okoth says.

It has further been discovered that traffickers employ other tactics of observing current trends and creating links with names that children identify and relate with indubitably. “We have come across groups such as Class Eight Revision, KCPE 2020 Class and other names that children easily join without questioning their genuineness,” he says.

The bigger concern, Okoth says, is that children and youth are being recruited and exposed online without the knowledge of their custodians. Valiant Richey, Special Representative for Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), describes the scale as unimaginable and growing, with “traffickers recruiting children through many online venues, including social media, game platforms, and chat rooms. They will typically befriend the children, grooming them for sexual activity and then gradually exploit them in various ways.”

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In Kenya, detectives have identified different locations in slums in Nairobi and Mombasa where traffickers congregate relatives (mostly children) in sneaky rooms and entice them into sex orgies for purposes of live streaming.

[The writer is a fellow of the 2020 Resilience Fund of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime]

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