Boda boda rider shot dead by Kenya Navy soldier for ‘trespass’
She sits at a corner near a police vehicle while in deep thought. Overwhelmed by emotions, Ms Martha Njeri Munene is trying to figure out the tough life that lies ahead.
Her breadwinner, 19-year-old Leonard Komora, is no more. His body lies 500 metres away from her.
Komora, a boda boda rider, was shot dead by a Kenya Navy soldier on Wednesday morning at around 6.45am. According to his colleagues, the deceased had gone to pick a soldier at the Kenya Navy staff quarters when he was killed under unclear circumstances.
“They have killed my only son. They have killed my son for no good reason. He was the one providing for me,” said Ms Munene as she wept in pain.
Komora, she said, sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination at Marfano Secondary School in Tana River last year, and had just started his life.
According to the police, the young man was allegedly killed for trespassing.
“The report we have is that the rider was shot for trespassing. We have started further investigations into the matter,” said Likoni Sub-County Police Commander Jane Munyoki.
Speaking to the Nation, his colleagues said they are often harassed by soldiers when they go to pick their customers.
“The only customers we usually pick are the soldiers themselves, but we usually suffer at the hands of these same people,” said Mr Ali Khamis.
In a statement, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) said the 19-year-old man, whom it identified as an “intruder”, defied orders to stop when he approached the main gate of the Kenya Navy Lt Col Kimaro Estate.
“The motorcyclist was flagged down by sentries to identify himself but forcibly proceeded towards the main gate at high speed, even after a warning shot was fired,” said the KDF spokesman, Colonel Paul Njuguna.
He said a soldier on guard then fired two direct shots at the rider in an attempt to immobilise him, “but he succumbed to his injuries.”
Col Njuguna said investigations with relevant agencies have commenced to establish the motive behind the “attempted forcible entry” by Komora.
Following the incident, motorcycle riders on Wednesday refused to offer their services to the soldiers, whom they usually take from the residence to the Navy base in Mtongwe.
“We are not going to carry these people. We offer services to them, only for them to treat us like animals. They have always been treating us badly,” said one of the riders who identified himself as Omondi.
Another rider who asked not to be named for security reasons narrated how he was beaten up by the soldiers for “trespass”.
The rider, whose mouth was still swollen, said he had been attacked by two soldiers.
“When you carry them they want to be picked and dropped at the gate, and threaten you if you don’t. When you do, you are told you have trespassed,” said the rider.