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Kenya: Kilifi police say Phyllis Omido raised false alarm

Police in Kilifi on Saturday night grilled environmental and human rights activist Phyllis Omido for allegedly raising a false alarm on social media.

This is after Ms Omido — who is the director of the Centre for Justice Governance and Environmental Action — wrote on her Facebook page that her home was under attack.

“My compound has been surrounded by gunmen. Shooting live bullets. My children and I are locked in the bathroom. We need help!!!” wrote Ms Omido.

But acting Kilifi Police Commander Kennedy Osando says that the rights activist lied and that the said gunmen were only angry manual labourers who were pelting her neighbour’s gate with stones demanding payment.

“There were no live bullets that had been fired. We now want to know why she decided to say that it was her home which was under attack and by armed men yet the youth were even at the neighbour’s house,” said Mr Osando.

The police officer said the six rowdy men were arrested and would be charged with creating disturbance.

The neighbour is said to have given their pay to one of manual labourers who failed to disburse the cash to his colleagues.

“For her case (Ms Omido) we will not let it to go just like that. You cannot raise alarm without facts,” said Mr Osando.

Her post on social media sparked fears that she may been targeted for her work, having campaigned against lead poisoning in Changamwe’s Owino Uhuru slums.

“Just received news that @CJGEA Phyllis Omido may be under attack at her home in Kilifi. Spoken to a colleague who says Phyllis called just as she heard gunshots at the gate of her estate, and the gunmen appeared to be approaching her home,” wrote investigative journalist John Allan Namu.

Ms Omido is the first Kenyan woman to win the Goldman Prize for environmental protection after campaigning tirelessly to shut down a smelter that was causing lead poisoning among its workers and local residents.

By Daily Nation

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