For the parents of Jecinta Achieng (right), the secondary school student who was shot dead in Kisumu on Tuesday, the police killed her as if she was a “hardcore criminal”.
Struggling to come to terms with the tragic loss of their 19-year-old daughter, Mr Dominick Ochieng and his wife Evelyn Akinyi are still seeking answers to numerous questions. Achieng was killed by a stray bullet on Tuesday morning while on a motorcycle as she was going shopping for school supplies.
She was among four people shot when police opened fire on a hostile crowd in Kisumu's Jua Kali area.
Achieng was a student at Simero Mixed Secondary School in Rang’ala, Siaya County, and was lucky to have found somebody who was going to support her education, having struggled to raise school fees.
We found the family gathered outside the Kisumu County Referral Hospital mortuary where the body was transferred on Tuesday evening from Aga Khan Hospital. The sombre mood painted a picture of shock and disbelief following Achieng’s untimely death.
Hours before she met her death, Achieng spoke with both her parents and was expected to travel to school yesterday.
“The brutal manner in which my daughter was killed was like police killing a hardcore criminal. I am yet to establish what crime she committed to deserve such a brutal death,” said Achieng’s mother.
She described her daughter as a hard-working and responsible girl who liked to help with house chores. Her father said he had lost a “best friend”. Her aunt Hildah Ochieng said the issue should have been handled differently to avert the tragedy.
“All the chaos leading to my niece’s death could have easily been avoided. The police are trained to protect, not kill innocent people. Even if the driver was on the wrong, why could they not note down the vehicle’s registration number and follow up?” she posed.
Kisumu County Police Commander Alphonse Kimanthi said at least eight officers are under investigation in connection with the fatal shooting.
Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Roseline Odede condemned the incidents in Kisumu and Wajir terming them callous.
She was referring to Achieng’s shooting on Tuesday as well as the recent killings of two young men, allegedly by officers from the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), in Wichir location, Wajir County, which have occurred within a week.