Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hand Grenades and Throwing Stones

On the way back from a wedding last week, we narrowly missed a mob of riotous stone throwers. Because of traffic concerns I decided to use a different route than normal to our offices at Church Army. A few minutes after arriving in the compound, hundreds of vehicles were ambushed with stones by disgruntled football fans. One of the local clubs had lost an important match and the team's followers, known for their passionate approach to the game, decided to dismantle the nearby stadium and destroy as much property as they could. The rioters blocked traffic along one of the major highways (our normal route) and bombarded vehicles with stones. We arrived inside the walls just in time. The Church Army School Bus which was ferrying children and teachers from the wedding didn't. One of the 5th graders was hit in the face and had to be rushed to the hospital to remove broken glass. At the matatu stage outside our office gate, the street was littered with stones and broken glass. For many we spoke with, the experience reminded them of the post-election violence of 2007-2008. While we waited inside, police scattered  demonstrators with gunfire, shooting one man in the arm and leaving him on the side of the road. Thankfully, no one else was seriously injured and the rest of the children were able to make it home safely.

Earlier this week, another riot broke out a short distance away in Eastleigh. After a hand grenade exploded in a passenger bus, hundreds of youth from rival groups took to the streets. A few photos below:

Apart for these incidences, the city of Nairobi has been relatively peaceful. We thank God for His protection and continue to pray for calm amidst heightening political tensions as campaigning for 2013 continues. Public school students are now sitting for their exams and will re-open in January.

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