News

Kenyan baby dies after being 'beaten by police' in protest crackdown

A six-month old girl was choked with tear gas and then beaten by police in Kenya, her parents allege. She was one of the victims of a bloody crackdown on post-election protests.

Lenzer, mother of six month-old Samantha Pendo, stands next to her bed as the girl remains in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit of Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu (Reuters/B. Ratner)

A six-month old baby that was beaten by police during a raid on her house in a Kenyan slum died in hospital on Tuesday.

Baby Samantha Pendo had been in a coma since Friday night, after police forced their way into her family's home during a crackdown on protesters in the southwestern city of Kisumu, her father said.

"I have lost my daughter, a short while ago. Let her rest in peace," Joseph Abanja said.

"Why did they have to beat us and injure my innocent angel. We have followed the order by the government to vote and stay home. Why did they have to come after us in our homes," he questioned, referring to the recent election.

Read more: Children among victims of post-election violence in Kenya

Samantha's parents accuse police of firing tear gas into their house, battering down the door, and then attacking the couple with batons. Samantha, who was being cradled in her mother's arms, was left fighting for her life with head injuries.

Watch video 01:51

Violence on the streets of Kenya

The government maintains that looters and thugs were the only victims of violence following last week's disputed election. But local media have carried many similar stories of raids on private homes.

In one incident in a Nairobi slum, a nine-year-old girl was shot dead on Saturday as she stood on her family's balcony, hit in the back as police fired shots to disperse protesters in the street below.

On Friday, Kenya's election board announced that President Uhuru Kenyatta had won a second term by a margin of 1.4 million votes. Veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, 72, said the elections results were fake and that he actually won.

Read more: Raila Odinga vows not to back down over Kenya election outcome

In response Odinga supporters mounted sporadic protests in Kisumu and the Nairobi slums that are his strongholds. Odinga accused security forces of deliberately beating and killing residents during crackdowns on the protests.

"Our response was lawful and proportionate," Police Inspector General Joseph Boinnet told Reuters. "We are investigating (the Pendo case). No sane police officer would hit a child."

Baby Samantha has become a symbol of the bloody crackdown.

"We are not thugs, we are not thieves. We are just a family," her father said, his hands and arms swollen and scraped from the beating he says he received.

aw/rc (AFP, Reuters)

Watch video 01:39

Kenyans return to work as strike call flops

DW recommends

Audios and videos on the topic

Albanian Shqip

Amharic አማርኛ

Arabic العربية

Bengali বাংলা

Bosnian B/H/S

Bulgarian Български

Chinese (Simplified) 简

Chinese (Traditional) 繁

Croatian Hrvatski

Dari دری

English English

French Français

German Deutsch

Greek Ελληνικά

Hausa Hausa

Hindi हिन्दी

Indonesian Bahasa Indonesia

Kiswahili Kiswahili

Macedonian Македонски

Pashto پښتو

Persian فارسی

Polish Polski

Portuguese Português para África

Portuguese Português do Brasil

Romanian Română

Russian Русский

Serbian Српски/Srpski

Spanish Español

Turkish Türkçe

Ukrainian Українська

Urdu اردو