26 November 2012

Kenya: KDF Officer Slain in Garissa Buried

A sober mood engulfed Kisima village in Ol-Kalou as residents joined hands to bid farewell to one of the slain Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers Lance Corporal John Wachira who was killed in Garissa last week.

Wachira was among three officers killed when suspected Al Shabaab militia opened fire at them as they were repairing a punctured tyre in Garissa town. The killing led to an immediate massive security operation in the town, sparking protests from locals who claimed they were being unfairly targeted by the police and military.

Emotions ran high at the burial on Monday with leaders who spoke calling on the government to ensure protection for the uniformed personnel as well as the defence forces. Ol-Kalou MP Erastus Mureithi demanded that the government offers proper medical insurance cover as well as risk allowances for the officers. He regretted that officers were living in deplorable conditions and with a lot of risks yet they were offering very essential services to Kenyans by providing security to the nation.

He said that it was high time that the government introduced an insurance scheme to cater for the families of the deceased who die while on duty. Mureithi noted that many officers lacked proper healthcare and cannot pay for their medical bills once they fell sick or injured while in the line of duty.

He regretted that it was only prominent people who were being taken care of by the government while the officers languished in poverty. He at the same time took issue with the civil society for failing to wake up to the occasion when policemen were killed.

The deceased's military colleagues paid tribute to the slain soldier saying he will be remembered for his dedication and commitment to serving in the force. Led by Private D.O Obiero, the officers said the late officer was loyal to the force until he died in the line of duty. He called on Kenyans to commit their energies and efforts to serving the nation saying this was the only way "we" can be proud to be Kenyans.

Private Obiero urged Kenyans to cooperate with other security agents in in dentifying criminals living among them. The late solder who died aged 48 years is survived by his widow Esther Njoki Wachira and three daughters.

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