Families’ agony as thugs hide behind Covid to wreak havoc

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 00:00 |
Mercy Atieno and her three children at Nyalenda slums yesterday with photos of her slain husband. Photo/PD/Viola Kosome

When Mercy Atieno left her husband and two young children at their Nyalenda house on August 25, to help with some construction work, she was hopeful to find her family intact when she returns.

Little did she know that her family would add to the growing list of families that have become victims of crime, as Covid-19 pandemic ushered a fresh wave of insecurity in Kisumu.

Her husband, Joseph Onyango, mysteriously disappeared from their home after leaving to attend a party at a friend’s house at around 8pm. His body was found dumped in a lagoon a few days later.

Worst fears

When People Daily visited the family yesterday, its members were still in shock and are yet to overcome the grief. 

Atieno narrated the painful ordeal she went through, after receiving reports that her husband did not return to the house.

Amid tears, she narrated how she visited several hospitals and police stations to no success.

After days of fruitless search, the family received reports that a body had been found dumped at a lagoon.

“I did not want to believe that it was my husband. I kept praying that he was alive somewhere but unfortunately, no good news was forthcoming,” she said.

When she visited Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital Mortuary in Kisumu, her worst fears were confirmed. Her husband had been slain.

Her attempts to find justice have not borne any fruit with police yet to make any arrests or make any breakthrough in the quest to bring the killers to book.

The case mirrors several cases in the region, where several families are struggling to overcome the grief of losing their loved ones to criminals.

Criminals take advantage of curfews to terrorise residents, worsening the situation for families struggling to cope up with the devastating impacts of Covid-19

About one month ago, another incident occurred where a teacher mysteriously disappeared.

This made teachers in Kisumu to call for a speedy investigation of their missing colleague.

It is alleged that Enock Ogot of Kawili Primary School in Nyakach, within Kisumu County went missing on September 4.

He was in the company of his cousin Tobias Owino. The two who stayed around Mowlem-Nyamasaria area, are said to have been destined to a funeral in Mbita, Homa Bay County.

According to their uncle Robert Odela, they boarded Owino’s car but never returned home, prompting them to initiate a search that began after recording a statement at the police station.

Odela told the People Daily that the vehicle in which the duo traveled, was found abandoned around Sondu area with nobody inside.

“We do not know what transpired between Nyamasaria and Katito upto date,”he said adding that their quest for justice has not been successful.

Since Covid-19 hit the country, so many families in Kisumu have lost their kin in kidnappings, defilements and unexplained murders.

Authorities in Kisumu now claim thugs have been taking advantage of the pandemic to wreak havoc on families.

Statistics indicate that crime incidents has hit 1,326 in Kisumu in the last six months.

Speaking to People Daily,  Kisumu County OCPD Peter Kattam said Covid-19 came with crime-related challenges

Some of the common crimes which he said were on the rise are defilement, stealing, suicides, robberies and burglary.

He said defilement cases rose highly in June, July and August adding that several cases are pending before court. 

He attributed the high cases to closure of schools.

In the month of July, Kattam said Kisumu recorded 12 cases of suicides which was high and attributed the same to domestic issues, hardships and drugs.

He said they are doing everything possible to ensure that crime is managed especially during this period of pandemic.

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