Baby beaten into coma by Kenyan police searching for political protesters

Jordan Bhatt

A six-month old baby is fighting for her life in Kenya after police beat her with a baton as she slept in her mother's arms. Samantha Pendo is in a coma after police raided her home in the port city of Kisumu.

Police officers suddenly entered the home, firing off tear gas and beating the family. Officers refused to let the parents take the child to hospital and by the time she was checked in, she had already fallen into a coma.

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Lenzer Achieng was lying in bed with her daughter when the raid took place. She witnessed the police striking the girl with a baton. She said: "One of the guys beat me and the other one came with that stick on them and hit the baby. Then I left the baby off of my hand because she did not cry, I did not feel any movement with the baby. I said, screaming, she was dead."

The raid is thought to have taken place as police search for political protesters following a controversial general election last week.

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The re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta triggered violence across Kenya following the disputed election process. Kenyatta won his second and last five-year presidential term on Friday 11 August in a tense contest against his long-time opponent, Raila Odinga, 72.

Hospital director Dr Sam Oula said: "At the time of admission the child was critically ill and had already lapsed into coma. So we did what we are supposed to do and we admitted the baby into ICU where she remains quite sick...The medical team is doing its best in terms of turning this baby around, but she remains quite critical."

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The girl's father, Joseph Abanja, was left with swollen and scraped arms after the beating and insisted that his family were innocent. At least three people were reportedly killed in Kisumu in the post-election clashes.

Child beaten by police in Kenya

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