Capital FM (Nairobi)

19 November 2012

Kenya: Cruel Rescuers Stole From Eastleigh Blast Victims

A sense of calm has now returned to Nairobi's Eastleigh Estate a day after police and residents engaged in running battles, even as security personnel ... ( Resource: Normalcy Returns to Kenya's Capital

He writhes in pain; the bed and its coverings dwarfing his already small frame. In his three-and-a-half years he's already seen more than most have in a lifetime.

He shouldn't be on a hospital bed I think to myself, he should be outside playing; which is just what he was doing when the bomb exploded; scarring his face and injuring his left leg.

Having changed into a green hospital gown, his mother enters the bed and slides her hand under his neck. Her touch might provide comfort but it gives a groaning Bernard Mbuvi little relief from his pain.

"I can't hear you," Monica Mbuvi tells me, "I have a problem with my hearing."

Monica didn't hear her neighbours either the first time they told her Bernard had been carried away in an ambulance.

"I was at home washing clothes. I didn't even hear the blast. I thought my boy was safe outside playing with his friends."

Rosemary Wanjiru unlike Monica hasn't had a problem with her hearing, until the blast. I'm forced to lean in to hear what she says.

"I was sitting on the back seat. Then there was a blast and I found myself near the mini-bus door with a body and wreckage on top of me."

Rosemary's torment didn't end there. Instead of offering a helping hand, those who first arrived at the scene told her to give up her phone or remain helpless.

"They took my phone but I refused to give up my purse. When another gentleman walked up to us and asked them why they weren't helping me they said I had refused (their) help."

Twenty-eight year-old Ahmed Abdi had his phone stolen as well before receiving any aid.

"This," he says waving a phone in the air, "isn't mine. The doctor lent it to me so I can get in touch with my family. As I was lying there unable to move, they pried my phone out of my hands."

Luckily for Ahmed, they didn't take his phone before he had a chance to call his brother who he was heading to meet before the bombing.

"I got into the mini-bus on Twelfth Street. I was going to get some money from my brother who is an officer at the Moi Air Base."

Ahmed doesn't remember much of what happened following the blast, "I lost network" (lost bearing). He however remembers with clarity the minutes leading up to the blast.

"There were two gentlemen who spoke briefly to each other," he leans to one side showing me how they spoke into each others' ears, "then immediately they got off the mini-bus I heard the explosion."

He lies now immobilised, having fractured his legs in the blast.

"I'm waiting to go into surgery. The doctor tells me they are going to insert metal rods."

I hear Bernard's groans just beyond Ahmed's curtain. His injuries could be life altering. He hasn't opened his eyes since he was brought to the hospital, "they've remained swollen and shut," I remember his mother telling me. He hasn't said a word either. Not that he has to.

Bernard's groans are drowned by another's. I look behind the curtain to see who it could be. I could ask but he wouldn't be able to answer. His front teeth are missing, his top lip and gum red and swollen. All I can make out is, "somebody help me."

Blood drips from his mouth as the nurses sitting on a table opposite his bed continue to shuffle papers. They are probably accustomed to the sight of a man with his head bandaged; blood seeping through the folds.

Bereft of words, tears start to trickle down his face. A face so stitched up he brings to mind a scarecrow.

"I'm never again going to use public means of transportation to get around Nairobi," Ahmed says as I turn back to look at him.

That's one way to approach the ever increasing risk of terrorist attacks but I think hardly a practical one.

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InFocus

Calm Returns to Kenya's Capital

Normalcy has returned to Nairobi's Eastleigh Estate following several days of chaos after a minibus explosion killed at least nine and injured more than 30. Read more »