The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Local Pharmacist Killed in South Sudan

A 43-year-old pharmacist was killed in South Sudan by police officers because he did not have a licence to keep a patient's bed in his pharmacy. Joseph Matu died at a government hospital last Saturday where he was receiving treatment after he was brutally assaulted in police custody. A postmorten on Matu's body revealed that he succumbed to head and stomach injuries which are believed to have been inflicted by police officers who assaulted him while in the cells.

The body was flown back home on Wednesday. Yesterday, Jackson Kingori, a family spokesman, said Matu had suffered multiple head injuries and had a ruptured pancreas. According to Kingori, Matu was arrested last Friday by officials from the Southern Sudan Ministry of Health because the officials discovered that he had a patient's bed in his pharmacy.

Kingori said the health officials, at around 12pm, directed Matu to close his pharmacy located in Corith town until he obtained a licence to have the bed in the pharmacy. He said Matu returned to his pharmacy at around 3pm to fetch an item he had forgotten when he was arrested. His wife, Purity Njambi, visited the him in police cells the same evening but was not allowed to speak to him.

However, police allowed her to give Matu food. This is the last time Njambi saw her husband alive. When she returned to the police station the following morning, she was told that Matu had been taken to hospital after falling ill in the night. Kingori said at the Corith General Hospital, Njambi discovered that Matu had been assaulted and she filed a petition with the Kenya mission in Sudan.

Matu died at the hospital where he was being treated. In May, a Kenyan teacher in South Sudan was shot dead by police in Juba as she was being driven back to a school owned by former President John Garang's wife. Mulekye Musangi, 24, a teacher at John Garang International School was shot in the head and later roughed up by police because the driver did not hear the whistle alerting people that the flag at the late President's mausoleum was being lowered.

A police officer and his commander were arrested and Questioned over the murder. The Kenyan embassy in South Sudan has demanded a thorough investigation into the incident. The deceased will be buried at her father's Makueni home on May 26.

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