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I felt helpless: Matatu driver recounts begging police to intervene during bus attack

The driver of the Compliant bus that was torched on Tuesday during the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition demonstrations.

Mr Francis Ogato Nyakundi recounted the circumstances of his daily journey along Ngong Road.

Mr Nyakundi, who is still traumatised by the incident, says he was on his way to Nairobi CBD to drop off passengers as usual since the demonstration had not yet started, only to be ambushed by the thugs who were hiding.

Also read: ‘Why Raila stayed away from Tuesday’s Maandamano’

He says his journey started from Karen to the city and he was not aware of any abnormalities along the route as his colleagues who had used the route had informed them that all was well.

Compliant bus driver Francis Ogato Nyakundi speaks during press address. PHOTO| KEVIN CHERUIYOT

The driver said that after dropping off a passenger at the Marsabit Plaza stage, thugs hiding in the area attacked him from both sides and he tried to turn around for safety but failed.

“I was on my way from Karen, I never knew anything was happening on Ng’ong Road, I picked up two passengers on the stage called Swedish. Then I dropped one at Marsabit Plaza, that is when people ambushed the vehicle from both sides, they were hiding, I did not see them earlier,” Mr Nyakundi said.

He said that after several attempts to set the vehicle on fire, the thugs were all over him and he had no choice but to run for his life.

The driver said stones were thrown through the windscreen, targeting him and the passengers, but he was lucky to escape unhurt.

“I thought they would stone the vehicle, steal from the passengers and leave, but they ended up torching the vehicle.”

According to him, the police, who were some distance ahead, would have saved the vehicle from being burnt beyond recognition, but his outcry was not enough to get the police to intervene.

“There were about thirty policemen. They watched as it was burnt. I was crying like a baby from a distance, watching the vehicle being torched. The police could have called the fire brigade if they wanted to.”

Also read: Azimio la Umoja leaders stripped of security ahead of maandamano

He was speaking at the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) offices in Nairobi on Wednesday, where the association dismissed rumours that the incident had been staged.

Compliant bus owner Henry Mungai Muiruri during press address. PHOTO| KEVIN CHERUIYOT

Henry Mungai Muiruri, the owner of the burnt bus with registration number KBV 362R, said he was left with nothing to feed his family.

Mr Muiruri said that the bus was the only source of bread for his family in Nairobi and that he had taken out loans using the same bus.

He said he was attending a funeral when the incident happened and was informed by a phone call from the driver.

“The driver called me in tears and told me that the thugs in the Telkom area had beaten him up on his way to the city. I asked him to calm down… DCI called me and asked for a log book, which I gave them, and they said they would call me later.

I can say that this bus was my means of survival, and I don’t know what to do now. This vehicle was on loan. I ask the government, or whoever comes, please help me because I don’t know what to do with my family,” Mr Muiruri.

Also read: Why Raila deleted ‘maandamano’ video