Rowdy youths ambush CS Matiang’i’s convoy

Tuesday October 31 2017

Gatina Primary School

A KCPE candidate at Gatina Primary School in Kawangware is assisted by police officers after she was caught in a melee that erupted outside the school. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i came face to face with rowdy youths in Kawangware while inspecting schools ahead of the Standard Eight examination Tuesday.

Dr Matiang’i, who was accompanied by Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet, was escorted into the school by a contingent of police officers in Gatina, Dagoretti North, which in the last three days has been hit by violence as gangs fight over the rerun presidential election.

The rowdy youths stoned his convoy that included several senior ministry officials, smashing windows of several vehicles, including that of Vocational Training Principal Secretary Dinah Mwinzi.

His security officers had to remove the flag from his official car to protect him.

The CS arrived at the school at around noon after touring Githurai Primary School during rehearsals for this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination.

At Githurai Primary School, the reception was friendly as hundreds of parents who had turned up cheered him.

Dr Matiang’i later went to Gatina Primary School in Kawangware 56 and several youths were heard warning that the dignitaries should find an alternative route to leave since they were not welcome in the area.

However, while speaking at Riruta Primary School after the ambush, the CS said he was not aware of the incident and had only been informed of it by an editor.

At Riruta Primary School, the presence of heavy security was once again evident.

“I do not know what has happened. I have just been told that people were stoned. I have no facts about the incident but I have asked the Inspector-General of Police to find out what happened,” he said.

At Gatina, the rowdy youths stood at the gate of the school threateningly waving rocks and chanting “Matiang’i must go”, creating a perilous security situation for the CS, his entourage and the journalists who had accompanied him.

His security detail was, however, able to quickly get him out of harm’s way, and as the last of the police escorts rounded the corner, all hell broke loose.

The youths launched their rocks at the school in frustration at what they said was a government that had refused to listen to them, sending journalists, pupils and teachers running for safety.

The rowdy mob was unable to gain access into the school.

They claimed that the journalists were instruments of government propaganda and threatened to damage their equipment.

Inside the school, the pupils gathered in small clusters and waited for the violence to abate so that they could leave.

Police arrived minutes later and what started as a protesting mob of tens of youths escalated into a full-blown battle, as policemen used tear gas to disperse the youths who retaliated with more rocks.

Pupils attempted to leave the school several times but the clashes right outside their gate sent them running back for cover.

The stalemate finally came to an end around 40 minutes later, when heavily armed policemen lined the streets and formed a protective layer around the journalists and the pupils who were finally safely escorted out of the school.

Dr Matiang’i and Mr Boinnet had earlier assured the KCPE candidates and their invigilators that there was adequate security for the examination to take place.

Kawangware has experienced bouts of violence since Friday as Jubilee and Nasa supporters clashed over the October 26 repeat poll.

Six people have so far died in the clashes.

Already, the ministry has identified Kawangware, Kibera and Mathare as areas that are troublesome and deployed additional security officers.

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