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Coronavirus: 32 remandees detained at KMTC Thika protest over hunger

By Mathew Ndungu
Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Thika Police Station where some of the detainees come from.
In summary
    • The remandees who contracted coronavirus at the police stations said officers from the Ministry of Health (MOH) denied them food after the lapse of their 14 days in quarantine.

A group of remandees quarantined at Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) in Thika have protested starvation and poor medical services.

The 32 remandees from Thika and Kiambaa police stations in Kiambu County claim they had not eaten any food from Monday.

The remandees who contracted coronavirus at the police stations said officers from the Ministry of Health (MOH) denied them food after the lapse of their 14 days in quarantine.

Beating the quarantine doors (almost breaking out), the furious remandees revealed that instead, police have been supplying them with bread and milk, and the rations cannot sustain them.

"Officers from the Ministry of Health said they won't feed us any further after our 14-days stay lapsed. However, they have not retested us to ascertain whether we still have the virus or not," one of the remandees who sought anonymity said.

Reports indicate that a tussle has emerged between police and the health officers over where to keep the law breakers since they haven't been proven negative.

Should they return to the cells, police fear they might continue spreading the virus while the health officers want them discharged to accommodate other people.

Sources close to Thika police intimated that the remandees cannot be taken back to remand without Covid-19 clearance letters. They have have not managed to obtain the documents as the offenders have not been retested.

The remandees put the Ministry of Health on the spot for scheming to return them to cells before they are assured of their health status.

They called on higher authorities to intervene and order for retests before they are allowed back to the cells where they are expected to continue mingling with police and the public.

At Thika police station, 20 police officers who were tested for the virus three weeks ago are yet to get their results.

The officers, as they wait for the results continue to serve the public raising questions on the effectiveness of the government tests and results releasing procedures.

"The government is not serious with the fight against Covid-19. If all the officers who were tested are yet to get back their results, that is tantamount to danger and possible widespread of the killer virus. It's time we rethink our Covid-19 fighting methods," Joyce Mumbi, a Thika resident said.

Contacted for a comment, Thika West Sub County Police Commander Beatrice Kiraguri declined to comment on the contentious matter.

By the time of going to press, the remandees were still demanding for justice while urging the relevant agencies to intervene and end the stalemate.

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