Murdered for being on the wrong side
Christmas preparations were going well for Winnie Oluoch and her children in Freshbrook until she received a text message on 21 December saying that her brother Martin, 31, pictured, had been killed by a marauding band of political thugs in Kenya.
He had been driving a car in a convoy for an opposition politician in the Kisumu area, in the west of Kenya, when it was held up by supporters of the governing party. The politician was not travelling with them, but the group was set upon.
All the others managed to get away but Martin was caught and brutally attacked and stabbed through the heart.
“It was completely devastating, I just could not accept Martin was dead,” said Winnie, pictured below. “He was killed just two days before his birthday.”
Within two hours of receiving a text with the awful news Winnie had booked her flight and she arrived on election day, 27 December.
She flew on to Kisumu and was able to see Martin’s body before travelling onto the family village 75 miles away to make burial arrangements with her parents.
“The results were announced in favour of the president Mr Kibaki on Sunday 30 December and there was total chaos,” said Winnie. “More than 40 people were killed in Kisumu and there were thugs roaming around the village. I had to hide in a friend’s house and the police were beating up any gathering and shooting people. It was terrible hearing the screams at night.
“We couldn’t arrange for Martin’s body to be transported from Kisumu to the village; it was so heartbreaking. We tried to talk to the police but they said any gathering would be broken up.”
In the end Winnie had to make a choice, to stay until things were calmer and the funeral could take place or return to her children in Swindon and her teaching job in Thatcham.
She decided to come back but had to pay bribes at five road blocks to get to Kisumu airport safely. Martin’s funeral finally took place on 11 January.
Now Winnie is appealing for help for bereaved families in the Kisumu area. “I’m just about coping, but in Kenya there are no support services to help people deal with their trauma,” said Winnie, a member of St Peter’s RC Church in Westlea.
“People want to talk about their experiences and give information to legal and human rights investigators to see if there is any legal redress.”
If you can assist Winnie in any way, contact Swindon Link on 01783 608840 or mail: email@example.com