Stampede at Kibaki’s parade leaves three dead
Three people were killed and scores were injured when a crowd attempted to force its way into a function presided over by President Kibaki at the Administration Police Training College in Nairobi on Friday.
Two of the victims were trampled while the other died when a brick wall brought down by the surging crowd fell on him.
Five of the injured were admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital where they were rushed in a police ambulance.
The crowds comprised mainly relatives and friends of fresh AP recruits who were graduating at the college, situated in Embakasi, after 15 months of training.
The incident happened shortly before 1pm, almost an hour after President Kibaki had inspected a guard of honour mounted by the 3,969 new police officers.
The crowd started surging towards the gate after they were blocked from entering the venue on the President’s arrival.
It was part of the security plan that nobody would be allowed past the gates once President Kibaki had entered.
Police identified the dead as 52-year-old Joseph Mburu, and a Mr Keziah, aged 60, while the other was booked at the mortuary as “unknown.”
“Investigations have started so that we can know what exactly happened. The crowd might have been too big or there may have been a delay in opening the gates,” said Nairobi deputy PPO Moses Ombati.
“Maybe members of the public got impatient with the screening process. We cannot really point fingers until we finish the enquiries,” Mr Ombati said, stating that two of the victims died on the spot while the third died while undergoing treatment.
There are two main gates to the college.
The closure of the gates prompted a mad rush at the entrance reserved for the public, situated on the Ruiru-Embakasi highway, a section of the Southern bypass.
The main gate to the college was reserved for the President and other dignitaries.
When the Saturday Nation team arrived at the public gate much earlier, there were long queues snaking from the bypass to the gates, where they were searched by hawk-eyed Presidential Escort and Administration police officers.
At the graduation square, a colourful parade by the freshly inducted officers filed past the Presidential dais. Entertainment by AP choirs went on without interruption.
A witness, Mr Eric Kimani, who had come to witness the graduation of a relative, said the crowd brought down the stone wall after being refused entry.
“People became impatient and decided to push the wall,” Mr Kimani said.
Another witness, Ms Phoebe Musyoka, said she kept a safe distance after APs at the gate where the stampede occurred asked the crowd to move back.
Pushed the crowd back
“There were many people. Just after I moved back, there was a stampede when security personnel pushed the crowd back,” Ms Musyoka, from Machakos, said.
The function was addressed by President Kibaki, outgoing AP Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua and Internal Security minister Yusuf Haji.
All top security officers were at the function including, Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and his lieutenants in the General Service Unit and the Criminal Investigation Department.
A similar function is expected next Friday at the adjacent GSU Training College, where fresh officers will be inducted into the force.