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Man who failed to raise Sh100 fine for being drunk shot dead in ‘attempted prison break’

By ANGIRA ZADOCK November 8th, 2016 3 min read

A foreigner who had been charged with a petty offence but was unable to pay the Sh100 fine was shot dead after he allegedly attempted to escape from prison on Saturday.

Gilbert Zoabunayo, a Burundian, had been arrested on Thursday evening and charged the following day with being drunk and disorderly.

He was taken to the Makadara Law Courts where he was convicted and fined Sh100 or imprisonment for 14 days.

However, Mr Zoabunayo, 25, was unable to raise the fine and could not contact any of his friends or relatives.

So, he was then taken to the Industrial Area Remand prison on Friday afternoon to start the two week-sentence.

But Mr Zoabunayo, who had only been in the country for five months, was shocked by the pathetic situation at the prison and attempted to escape, according to authorities.


The prison headquarters told the police that the deceased attempted to escape, prompting the shooting.

The head of the Industrial Area Remand Prison Superintendent Joseph Kiare said that the deceased was found scaling the perimeter wall in order to escape from the prison.

He, however, did not explain how he got out of the inner building.

“He was challenged by the officers at the watchtower but he defied even after two warning shots were fired in the air and ran towards the quarters,” he said.

Mr Kiare said that although the intention was to immobilize him, he was shot on the head and died on the spot. The body was photographed and later transferred to the City Mortuary for postmortem.

The deceased, according to court records, had been charged with being drunk and disorderly contrary to section 42 (1) of the Liquor Licensing Act, Chapter 121 Laws of Kenya.


Although to be drunk is not an offence, when a drunk person is staggering or shouting abusive words to members of the public, he is considered to be disorderly and can be charged in court.

In most cases, the accused persons plead guilty since the fines are lenient. In other cases, the suspects are sentenced to serve few months’ probation.

The prison authorities justified the shooting despite the fact that the foreigner was charged with a petty offence.

Section 12 (2) of the Prisons Act allows a prison officer to use any weapons including firearms, against a prisoner if he is escaping or attempting to escape and refuses, when called upon, to return.

Firearms can be used when prisoners engage in breaking out or attempting to break out of prison and continues when called upon to desist.

Makadara OCPD Nehemiah Langat on Monday told Nairobi News that investigations into the incident had been launched.

The police headquarters also reported that a prisoner of Somali origin who was to be repatriated to Somalia escaped from the Shauri Moyo police station on Saturday night.


Mr Mohammed Noor Abdisalat had been detained at the station but on Saturday at around 8.20pm the officers who were taking over night duties realized that he was missing.

The other prisoners told the police that he left the cells to see his relatives who had gone to see him earlier in the day but he was never returned to the cells.

In another incident, three suspects including a robbery with violence suspect escaped after they hit and seriously injured a police officer at Chogoria police station.

The three –Jimamin Kinoi Kinyua, Ian Mutai Mukobwa and John Peter Mrigi –had been charged with robbery, grievous harm and breaking into a building respectively.

Constable Bjorn Kimathi had opened the door of the cells to serve the prisoners with breakfast when the hit him before they escaped.