Baby survives gunshot wound in anti-IEBC demos

Two-year-old Shantelle was playing with her mates in Nyamasaria, Kisumu. Then she fell down suddenly, crying.

Her mother, Lydia Kageha, who rushed there, thought one of her playmates had hit her with a stone.

But that was not the case: Someone had shot her.

For a two-year-old, protests against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is not something she may have been aware of, yet she has become the latest definition of violent protests.

On Monday night, doctors at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital took just two minutes to remove the bullet lodged in her shoulder.

According to Dr Juliana Otieno, Medical Superintendent at the hospital, the operation was done under general anaesthesia.

Medics cut through the area, she explained, and being that the bullet got in after it’s speed was reduced, it did not penetrate to other parts of the body.

It was just under the skin.

“I was a bit worried when the child was brought to the hospital with a bullet lodged in her neck. I knew she was in danger but, luckily enough, it was not major,” she said.

Dr Otieno told the Nation that the operation, which was done on Monday night, did not last long. She is out of danger.

“We are hoping that Shan will be fine though we will continue monitoring her,” she said.

Shan, as she is known at her home, was shot at her home in Nyamasaria.

“She was crying. We thought she had been hit by a stone thrown by one of the children she was playing with.

“When we checked, she was bleeding. We rushed her to the hospital where an X-ray showed there was a bullet in her neck,” her mother said.

The mother, who was accompanied by the girl’s grandmother, Rosa Akinyi, said there were no protests in Nyamasaria and wondered how the girl had been shot at a time no one there was protesting.

“We suspect it was fired from Lower Manyatta, where some people were engaging with the police,” she said of the neighbouring estate.

Ms Akinyi wondered why the officers had to use live bullets to disperse the protesters.

“Where are we headed as a country? I thank God that the bullet did not penetrate to the heart. I would be mourning my granddaughter by now,” she said.

She said that although the granddaughter was out of danger, she was in too much pain.

“Imagine subjecting this young girl into such pain. She is not even aware what is happening yet she will have to live with the scar forever,” she said.

The demonstrations in Kisumu turned chaotic later in the afternoon after an 18-year-old Form Four student was shot and killed.

Witnesses claimed the shooter, wearing police uniform and strangely in dreadlocks, later slit his neck and removed the bullet, perhaps to cover-up the shooting.

But local police chief Titus Yoma denied police had fired any live bullets on protesters, saying his team will investigate the matter.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report bares police brutality.

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