Tuesday, August 8, 2017

{UAH} The brutal reality of life on Nairobi?s streets

The brutal reality of life on Nairobi's streets


The pictures that reveal the hardships of Kenya's capital where gun crime is rife and young girls are forced to turn to prostitution

  • Around two million people live in the shantytowns packed in around Kenya's capital, Nairobi
  • One policeman said: 'Every week there is a shooting, a robbery, and a murder. Every second day a serious crime'
  • Many Kenyans complain about how the police interact with the public, so crimes often go unreported
  • Some young women in Nairobi say they cannot support their children without turning to prostitution 

Nairobi is at the epicentre of East Africa's economic boom... but it may as well be a million miles away from it all for the young men and girls forced to turn to a life of gun crime and prostitution.

While much of Kenya is enjoying the benefits of its increasing wealth, life in the slums is a depressing daily grind.

'I have lost a lot of people I knew to crime,' says George Kiru, nursing a drink at 2 in the morning in a bar on the edge of Nairobi's Korogocho slum.

Music blares as he lists childhood friends who joined gangs, many of them now dead or in jail.

'Personally I always said no to crime,' says Kiru, who buys and sells second-hand goods and picks up occasional work as a minibus driver to feed his two daughters and send them to school. 'It never ends well if you choose to become a criminal. Eventually, you will get killed.'

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These two men outside a bar in Nairobi are only pretending to fight - but real violence in the city is never far away

These two men outside a bar in Nairobi are only pretending to fight - but real violence in the city is never far away

A young man, who says he is part of a local criminal gang, poses for a picture holding a gun in the neighbourhood of Korogcho in Nairobi

A young man, who says he is part of a local criminal gang, poses for a picture holding a gun in the neighbourhood of Korogcho in Nairobi

Sex workers Alice, 20 (left) and Claire 17, pose for a photograph as Alice's baby sleeps close by in their home in Kiamaiko, Nairobi. Alice said that her partner was killed in a shoot-out five years ago. It left her with no means to support herself and her newborn baby son, so she started working as a prostitute. Claire said she has been a sex worker since she was 14

Sex workers Alice, 20 (left) and Claire 17, pose for a photograph as Alice's baby sleeps close by in their home in Kiamaiko, Nairobi. Alice said that her partner was killed in a shoot-out five years ago. It left her with no means to support herself and her newborn baby son, so she started working as a prostitute. Claire said she has been a sex worker since she was 14

Around two million people have made their homes in the shantytowns packed in around Kenya's capital - Korogocho, its bigger, equally infamous near neighbours Mathare, Mukuru kwa Njenga, Kibera and others.

The neighbourhoods are bustling and bursting with energy. Churches are packed, young men hang out at neighbourhood gyms and friends gather at roadside stalls serving chicken. But crime and unemployment are high. Basic services and sanitation are scarce.

People in ramshackle dwellings of wood and corrugated iron describe a daily struggle to eke out a living. Some turn to prostitution and other crimes.

An injured man, who according to witnesses was pushed from a moving vehicle, spits blood as he lies on the side of a road in Nairobi

An injured man, who according to witnesses was pushed from a moving vehicle, spits blood as he lies on the side of a road in Nairobi

A man shows scars from gunshots wounds he said he sustained when he was attacked by a local gang in Makadera in Nairobi

A man shows scars from gunshots wounds he said he sustained when he was attacked by a local gang in Makadera in Nairobi

George Kiru, 36, walks past burning rubbish in Dandora, Nairobi, Kenya. 'Personally I always said no to crime,' says Kiru, who buys and sells second-hand goods and picks up occasional work as a minibus driver to feed his two daughters and send them to school

George Kiru, 36, walks past burning rubbish in Dandora, Nairobi, Kenya. 'Personally I always said no to crime,' says Kiru, who buys and sells second-hand goods and picks up occasional work as a minibus driver to feed his two daughters and send them to school

Men distil a local home-brew alcoholic drink called Chang'aa in Mathare in Nairobi. Around two million people live in the shantytowns packed in around Kenya's capital

Men distil a local home-brew alcoholic drink called Chang'aa in Mathare in Nairobi. Around two million people live in the shantytowns packed in around Kenya's capital

A police officer intervenes to stop two men fighting on a street in Korogocho during a night patrol in Nairobi

A police officer intervenes to stop two men fighting on a street in Korogocho during a night patrol in Nairobi

Alice, 20, says her partner was killed in a shoot-out five years ago. Left with no means to support herself and her newborn baby son, she started working as a prostitute. Claire, 17, said she has been a sex worker since she was 14.

Four policemen have died in shoot-outs in the past two years, says one officer on a night patrol in Korogocho, Dandora and Makadara, declining to give his name.

'We need to be tough or the situation will get out of control ... Every week there is a shooting, a robbery, and a murder. Every second day some criminal here commits a serious crime.'

But residents say it is they, not the officers who face the brunt of the violence.

One Korogocho man says his 20-year-old son was killed during a police operation last year. The government has urged residents to report corrupt or violent police officers. But the man asks not to be named for fear of reprisals.

A police officer inspects the identification papers of a motorcyclist carrying a passenger in the neighbourhood of Korogocho during a night patrol in Nairobi

A police officer inspects the identification papers of a motorcyclist carrying a passenger in the neighbourhood of Korogocho during a night patrol in Nairobi

A group of men are crammed into the boot of an unmarked police vehicle after being detained for questioning in Korogocho during a night patrol

A group of men are crammed into the boot of an unmarked police vehicle after being detained for questioning in Korogocho during a night patrol

A group of men talk by a car after leaving a local bar in Majengo in Nairobi

A group of men talk by a car after leaving a local bar in Majengo in Nairobi

A man, who is handcuffed to his friend, gestures towards a police officer after the two were detained during a raid on a house where people were alleged to be selling illegal homemade alcohol in Dandora

A man, who is handcuffed to his friend, gestures towards a police officer after the two were detained during a raid on a house where people were alleged to be selling illegal homemade alcohol in Dandora

Men try to stop a public minibus in the early hours of the morning in Dandora

Men try to stop a public minibus in the early hours of the morning in Dandora

A man pleads with police officers to release a relative who they have just detained and placed in the boot of their vehicle in Dandora during a night patrol in Nairobi. The man was chased and detained by officers after he tried to run away from the police when they asked him to approach the vehicle they were patrolling in

A man pleads with police officers to release a relative who they have just detained and placed in the boot of their vehicle in Dandora during a night patrol in Nairobi. The man was chased and detained by officers after he tried to run away from the police when they asked him to approach the vehicle they were patrolling in

Many Kenyans complain about how police deal with the public, so crimes often go unreported and relations with officers are strained. Police officials insist the force investigates reported complaints and reports of corruption, while officers on the ground say they are exposed to violent crime on a regular basis.

Drug and alcohol addiction is a common problem. An illegal brew called Chang'aa is prepared over open fires in oil drums in Mathare.

In Huruma, Stanley and Saaid are heroin addicts. Stanley, 36, is a rubbish collector and Saaid, 32, gathers unused metal to sell for recycling.

'It is a hard life here,' says Kiru, nursing his drink in the Korogocho bar. Across the room, staff serve drinks, separated off from customers by a grid of metal rods.

A man consoles a friend, who said his son was killed in a shooting last year, in Dandora

A man consoles a friend, who said his son was killed in a shooting last year, in Dandora

Police officers detain a man in Korogocho during a night patrol. Many Nairobi citizens have complained about the way the police treat them

Police officers detain a man in Korogocho during a night patrol. Many Nairobi citizens have complained about the way the police treat them

A man burns rubbish on the side of a road in Dandora, a suburb on the eastern side of Nairobi

A man burns rubbish on the side of a road in Dandora, a suburb on the eastern side of Nairobi

Men socialise in a local bar in Majengo in Nairobi. Drug and alcohol addiction is a common problem. An illegal brew called Chang'aa is prepared over open fires in oil drums in some parts of the city

Men socialise in a local bar in Majengo in Nairobi. Drug and alcohol addiction is a common problem. An illegal brew called Chang'aa is prepared over open fires in oil drums in some parts of the city

Given the state of parts of the city, it is no surprise that when Pope Francis landed in Nairobi on Wednesday on the first leg of a landmark three-nation trip to Africa, he was greeted with cheering crowds and traditional dancers.

As the papal plane trundled across the tarmac, a Kenyan and a Vatican flag flying from the front, crowds decked in brightly-coloured clothes, arms around each other's shoulders, bounced up and down waiting for the plane to halt.

Stepping onto the red carpet, the 78-year-old pontiff nodded in greeting, smiling broadly as the excited crowd erupted into cheers, whistles and ululations of joy, and a choir burst into song.

Dancers, some in traditional feather headdresses, colourful dresses and beads, leapt high into the air, as Francis was met by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta with a red carpet welcome.

The pontiff, who will also visit Uganda and troubled Central African Republic (CAR) before flying back to Rome on Monday, is expected to call for the need to address inequality to ensure peace and end conflict.

On a trip fraught with security concerns, thousands of police and troops have been deployed with key roads closed in the capital Nairobi, to ensure the visit is peaceful.

Al-Qaeda's East Africa branch, the Shebab, have launched a string of attacks against Kenya because they have troops deployed in Somalia.

Francis said he was delighted to make his first visit to Africa.

Pope Francis waves as he arrives in Nairobi. To the left is Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

Pope Francis waves as he arrives in Nairobi. To the left is Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

Pope Francis stands beside Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta as they watch traditional dancers after he arrived at the Jommo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi on Wednesday

Pope Francis stands beside Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta as they watch traditional dancers after he arrived at the Jommo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi on Wednesdayed: 0%

'I go with joy to meet Kenyans, Ugandans and our brothers in Central Africa,' he said during the flight to Kenya, where he played down fears for his safety, joking he was 'more worried about the mosquitoes.'

Vast crowds are anticipated in the capital at a giant open air mass on Thursday, which has been declared a public holiday.

Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper said the country was honoured to welcome Francis as his first stop.

'It is a momentous day and heralds joy and hope for the people of Kenya,' the editorial read.

A packed schedule will see the pope visit a Nairobi slum, a shrine to Christian martyrs in Uganda and both a mosque and a refugee camp in CAR. A total of 19 speeches will include a major statement on the environment ahead of the Paris climate change summit.

'Karibu (Welcome to) Kenya' read Wednesday's headlines in both the Standard and Star newspapers while the Daily Nation reported that elders from the Kalenjin tribe in the Rift Valley were planning to travel to Nairobi to present Francis with a bull.

With the bulk of the planned events outdoors, there were fears the unusually heavy 'El Nino' rains forecast for later in the week could prove extremely challenging with many fearing local infrastructure will be unable to cope.

Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga has said security will be 'heavy' and that airforce surveillance planes would be deployed 'to ensure our skies are clear of any possible threat.'

The CAR leg of the trip has been maintained despite warnings from French peacekeepers there that they cannot guarantee Francis's security. 



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3333692/The-brutal-reality-life-Nairobi-s-streets-pictures-reveal-hardships-Kenya-s-capital-gun-crime-rife-young-girls-forced-turn-prostitution.html#ixzz4pAc9UTRd 
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