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Seven killed as speeding lorry ploughs into crowd



Esther Khavakali wept uncontrollably after her husband died in a road accident at Kaburengu along the Eldoret–Bungoma highway.

Geoffrey Kubasali was among seven people killed when a lorry lost controlled and ploughed into a crowd at the black spot yesterday.

Kubasali, his family’s sole breadwinner works as a tout. He’d left home early in the morning, for Kaburengu bus stop, about 200 meters away. He’d promised his wife he will return with a packet or two of milk. What Khavakali, 35, did not know was that this would be the last conversation she would have with her husband.

“He left home around 8am. And it would turn out to be the last time we spoke,” a distraught Khavakali told The Standard.

Relaxing at home

While relaxing at home in the company of a relative around 4.30pm, they heard a loud bang. “The bang was loud. We rushed to the road to see what was happening. I was shocked when I was informed my husband had been killed by a speeding lorry,” she said.  The other victims were women selling their wares by the roadside.

“I saw bodies of the women strewn all over together with the tomatoes, onions and the other things they were selling,” Khavakali said. “I didn’t see the body of my husband as the police said they had already put it in the vehicle which later headed to the Webuye Hospital mortuary,” she said.

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She added: “We had been married for ten years but didn’t have children although he had three children from an earlier marriage. One of the children had completed Form Four,” Khavakali said.

The victims included a teenage girl who was selling fries. “The girl completed her secondary education last year and lived with her mother at Matete trading centre. She was frying the chips when the accident occurred,” said Abule Shikuku, a witness.

Shikuku said the ill-fated lorry first rammed an Eldoret-bound bus before veering off the road and crashing the women together with the man.

People screaming

“We first heard people screaming then we saw the lorry moving at very high speed. It first crashed three women and knocked down the rest as they attempted to run. The girl died while her mother survived after falling into a nearby ditch,” said Shikuku. A woman, identified as Evelyn Wekesa, who is a mother of six, died on the spot. “She attempted to run but it was too little too late,” said another witness.

Kakamega County Deputy Traffic Police Commander James Ng’etich said: “The driver lost control of the vehicle which was coming from Eldoret, hit a bus, ran over the women before landing on the opposite side of the road.” Ng’etich said the driver of the vehicle, who was not immediately identified, was among the 14 people who suffered severe injuries. He is admitted to Webuye sub-county hospital. The officer warned residents against selling their wares along the road.

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“This is not the first time we are witnessing this kind of an accident. I urge residents to do their businesses from safer places,” Ng’etich said.

However, residents want the government to redesign the road and have lorries use a different route. “We have witnessed so many accidents at the black spot this month. We would like to see the lorries use another road,” said Shikuku.

Send condolences

Lugari MP Ayub Savula, in whose constituency the road falls, send condolences to families of victims. This portion of the road, which is steep, has continued to kill people over the years and residents are unhappy with the seeming lack of concern by authorities.

Traders who sell their goods by the roadside are normally the main victims. Speed bumps and traffic signages have done little to end the accidents.


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First man cured of HIV dies of cancer



The first person to be cured of HIV, Timothy Ray Brown — known as the “Berlin Patient” — has died after a battle with cancer, the International Aids Society (IAS) announced Wednesday.

Brown made medical history and became a symbol of hope for the tens of millions of people living with the virus that causes AIDS when he was cured more than a decade ago.

He had been living with a recurrence of leukaemia for several months and received hospice care at his home in Palm Springs, California.

“On behalf of all its members… the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy’s partner, Tim, and his family and friends,” said IAS President Adeeba Kamarulzaman.

“We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hutter, a great deal of gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible.”

Brown was diagnosed with HIV while was studying in Berlin in 1995. A decade later, he was diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

To treat his leukaemia, his doctor at the Free University of Berlin used a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that gave him natural resistance to HIV, hoping it may wipe out both diseases.

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It took two painful and dangerous procedures, but it was a success: in 2008 Brown was declared free of the two ailments, and was initially dubbed “the Berlin Patient” at a medical conference to preserve his anonymity.

Two years later, he decided to break his silence and went on to become a public figure, giving speeches and interviews and starting his own foundation.

“I am living proof that there could be a cure for AIDS,” he told AFP in 2012. “It’s very wonderful, being cured of HIV.”


Ten years after Brown was cured, a second HIV sufferer — dubbed “the London Patient” — was revealed to be in remission 19 months after undergoing a similar procedure.

The patient, Adam Castillejo, is currently HIV-free. In August a California woman was reported to have no traces of HIV despite not using anti-retroviral treatment.

It is thought she may be the first person to be cured of HIV without undergoing the risky bone marrow treatment.

Sharon Lewin, president-elect of the IAS and director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia, praised Brown as a “champion and advocate” of a cure for HIV.

“It is the hope of the scientific community that one day we can honour his legacy with a safe, cost-effective and widely accessible strategy to achieve HIV remission and curs using gene edition or techniques that boost immune control,” she said.

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Madaraka Express resumes full service



All is set for the resumption of a second Nairobi-Mombasa passenger train, with the first locomotive expected to leave the capital city on October 1 at 2.15pm.

In a notice, Madaraka Express operator Afristar said standard gauge railway (SGR) passenger train services will resume following the lifting of partial transport restrictions in Nairobi and Mombasa by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The firm released a new schedule for the trains that shuttle between the two counties.

KR has been operating two passenger trains between Nairobi and Mombasa, but from Thursday, it will operate four.

SGR passenger services resumed operations in July, a week after President Kenyatta relaxed measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Afristar will now have trains leaving Nairobi and Mombasa at the same time in the morning and two other trains leaving in the afternoon.

Morning trains from the two cities will depart at 8.00am, with one train departing from the Nairobi terminus for Mombasa and vice versa.

Thereafter, two other trains will depart Mombasa and Nairobi at 2.15pm.

The train services will be operating under strict coronavirus protocols.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the SGR will operate at 50 per cent capacity, with an extra coach for isolation.

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To facilitate the smooth resumption of services, Afristar has deployed 10 coaches, including eight economy and two first-class coaches.

This is in line with Mr Macharia’s statement that 10 coaches should be provided to ferry close to 600 passengers on a one-way trip.

Additionally, all customer-facing employees must wear masks and gloves.

As of this morning, all passenger service staff serving customers have tested negative for Covid-19.

SGR passenger services were suspended back in April after President Kenyatta announced the cessation of movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Mombasa County and Mandera County.

On Monday, the Head of State announced an extension of the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew for an additional 60 days.

He, however, adjusted the curfew time from 9pm to 11pm with the new directives taking effect on Tuesday, September 29.


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Man accused of sodomising minor attacks magistrate for the second time



A man accused of sodomising a three and half-year-old boy on Wednesday turned violent in court and attempted to attack the magistrate.

Ismael Mustafa for the second time turned violent and attempted to attack Chief Magistrate Edna Nyaloti prompting her to run out of the court.

He had previously, in early September 2020, charged towards the magistrate while she was busy writing down proceedings forcing the shaken magistrate to scamper for safety even leaving her shoes behind.

Nyaloti was making a ruling on whether Mustafa has a case to answer. She later forgave him and the trial continued.

“Cuff him, this is the second time he is turning violent and attempting to attack me,” said the Chief Magistrate.

It took the intervention of the court orderlies and prison officers to contain Mustafa who turned aggressive towards the magistrate.

The officers wrestled him down to the floor and cuffed him before marching him out of the courts.

Nyaloti was forced to retreat to her chambers in fear of her safety after Mustafa started to charge towards her.

It is alleged that on February 16, 2019, at Bangladesh area in Jomvu, he sodomised XY- a child aged three and a half years.

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He denied the charges and was released on a bond of  Sh200, 000 with a similar surety.

Repeated offence

According to police records, Mustafa had been previously charged with sodomising another minor and was sentenced but later was acquitted by the High Court upon appeal.

Today, other court matters were forced to adjourn to allow the prison officers to escort him out of the court.

Mustafa had on several occasions become arrogant and interrupted the court proceedings.

Despite the magistrate listening to his rants and complaints without interruption, the accused became adamant, was dissatisfied and decided to turn violent.

He demanded to have his charges read to him afresh and said that when the charge sheet was amended, it was not read to him as he demanded to have the matter started afresh.

Nyaloti laboured to explain that the court record indicated that the charges were read to him by the prosecution once the charges were amended.

However, Mustafa insisted that he wanted the matter transferred to another court and demanded that the magistrate determines whether he has a case to answer or not.

“Your honour there is no need for you to proceed with the ruling. I have no faith in your court and want you to transfer the matter before another court. I want the high court to decide on this matter because I feel justice is not being done,” said Mustafa.

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Mustafa declined to allow the magistrate to make a ruling and said that he won’t ever attend the court until he is allocated another court.

Mustafa proceeded to utter abusive and unprintable language in court and swore that he will not come back to court ever.

The magistrate had given him time in the last trial to file his application before the high court to have the matter determined afresh.

“I have no objection if you want to file your application before the high court to have the matter transferred to another court but meanwhile the case will proceed before me until you get an order stating otherwise,” said Nyaloti.


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