A 25-year-old man from Kakamega County on Tuesday morning suffocated to death after police hurled teargas at traders in an open-air market in Mumias.
Idris Mukolwe, who was hawking goods in the market when police ambushed at 11am, fell and died while escaping the suffocating fumes from teargas. Doctors believe Mukolwe died of asphyxia after choking on the tear gas smoke.
Two other traders -- a man and a woman -- collapsed after inhaling the fumes, and were taken to St. Mary’s Mission Hospital in Mumias for emergency care.
Mukolwe, who was rushed to Jamia Medical Centre in Bungoma, was pronounced dead on arrival. His body was later moved to St. Mary’s Mission Hospital morgue.
The incident was confirmed by Mumias West OCPD Paul Mengich.
“We have launched investigations on which officers used excessive force while handling the traders,” Mengich told K24 Digital.
The OCPD said police were enforcing a directive which prohibits Kakamega residents from engaging in trade in open-air markets.
Mumias Market traders including Mathias Lumumba, Zachariah Masika, Benson Okombe and Nifridah Kufwafwa, who spoke to K24 Digital, urged authorities to ensure the cops who hurled teargas that ended up killing Mukolwe, are brought to book.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya on March 16 closed all markets in the county in measures aimed at minimising the spread of COVID-19.