There was drama at the Njoro sub county Hospital when a police officer pursued a patient seeking treatment there and shot her dead before taking his own life.
The patient later emerged to be his girlfriend who he had earlier on argued with her in their house before he assaulted her.
Constable Bernard Sivo had first attacked his girlfriend Mary Nyambura, 29 in their house and broke her right leg in an assault.
The woman later managed to go to the hospital where she sought to be treated for a fractured leg.
He apparently got wind that she had gone to the hospital.
While she was being attended to in a ward, the officer emerged while armed with an AK-47 rifle and pumped 10 bullets into her killing her on the spot.
Witnesses said the shooting forced medics who were attending to the woman to scamper for their lives at around 1 am Monday morning.
The woman was shot in the back and hands while on a bed dying on the spot.
The attacker escaped the hospital and went to the local police station while shooting in the air.
He later shot himself in the chin and the bullet exited in the forehead, police said.
By then a team had been mobilised to disarm him in vain.
The motive of the incident is yet to be known.
His colleagues said Sivo, 28 had taken over third shift cell sentry duties at the station.
He excused himself saying he wanted to make a call outside the report office with his AK-47 rifle loaded with 30 bullets before he left for the hospital.
The weapon was picked from where he had died.
Nakuru police boss Beatrice Kiraguri said they are yet to establish the motive of the incident.
The bodies were preserved in the local mortuary.
Incidents of police killings and dying by suicide have been on the rise amid calls for further counselling sessions.
As part of efforts to address the menace, the National Police Service Commission has commissioned a counselling unit and recruited personnel to be talking to the police.
On August 11, Inspector General of Police, Hilary Mutyambai unveiled a counselling program for police officers and their families.
The IG noted that officers would be offered psychological support to address the escalating cases of suicide and mental disorders.
“The recruited staff will be instrumental in offering psychological support to police officers and their families with a view to improving their life skills,” stated the IG.
There have been recorded cases of killings or at least five suicide cases every month in recent years involving police officers according to available police statistics.
The counselling unit will among others evaluate, design, and lead an outreach program that helps prevents mental health and substance abuse in the police service.
Further, the unit will assist clients or families affected with mental health, substance abuse issues and trauma with ways of overcoming the menace.
The unit and its staff will also participate in the formulation of counselling policies, regulations and strategies in conformity with the National Police Service reform agenda and participate in the implementation, interpretation and review of counselings services, policies, procedures and systems.
Over the years, there has been a spike in deaths in the service that were later linked to trauma.
They include deaths caused by guns within the service.
According to a recent Kenyatta University research, the major factor contributing to suicide and murder among officers in Kenya is work-related trauma.
The study found out that police are generally at the receiving end of all community problems.
They are expected to maintain law and order in very difficult situations, besides putting their lives at risk as soon as they leave home every day.
It further emphasised that police officers are often in touch with extremely painful issues in the community such as murder and rape, which stresses them.
Mutyambai in 2019 launched a new programme-Muamko Mpya-Healing the Uniform Initiative- to give psychological support to officers.
Mutyambai said police officers who are often exposed to trauma that creates deep emotional scars, need healing.
“The ultimate goal of the initiative is to provide officers with knowledge, tools and a framework to assist them to support each other while handling traumatic situations,” Mutyambai said.
“They encounter most of these situations on personal and professional levels.”
sourced from The Star