Kitale Poly Students Grab Colleague’s Body From Mortuary In Protest.
On Monday, Kitale National Polytechnic students forcibly removed a colleague’s body from a mortuary and engaged bodaboda riders in running battles to protest his death.
Eddy Ptenda, who started at the college in May, was hit by a motorcycle and taken to Kitale County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Hundreds of poly students marched through town to protest his death.
The enraged students stormed the hospital mortuary and forcibly removed the man’s body, which they paraded down the busy Kitale-Kapenguria highway.
It took the intervention of student leaders to prevent the protesting students from transporting the body on a trolley to the Kitale Police Station in order to express their outrage.
After about two hours, they returned the body to the morgue.
While protesting, the students became rowdy and began destroying property on the streets and stealing clothes and other items from stores.
It quickly devolved into running battles and stone-throwing between students and bodaboda operators, disrupting town business and traffic.
Anti-riot police intervened to defuse the escalating violence, dispersing the protesting students with tear gas. Several people were arrested after defying orders to clear the streets.
Among the items destroyed during the chaos were an official car belonging to a Kitale Law Courts judge and campaign posters.
Students accused bodaboda riders of being careless on the roads, while motorcyclists accused them of disturbing the peace, stealing, and causing chaos.
Ken Ochieng, a student leader, stated that they were only expressing their displeasure after their peer was hit by a reckless rider and no action was taken by police.
“We were having a peaceful demonstration and condemning the bodaboda riders about their carelessness on the road, only to be attacked by the riders,” he said.
Kitale Polytechnic Principal John Akola described the death and confrontation as unfortunate, adding that the college had offered bodaboda riders driving scholarships.
“It is unfortunate that we have lost the life of a student who just reported last month. We are asking bodaboda riders to ensure they exercise discipline while on the road,” he said.
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He urged students to remain calm while police investigated the incident, saying there was no need for bad blood between students and riders.
The students demanded that street lights be installed near all hostels.