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Mourners chasing cops at Kenyan musician’s burial? No, photo of 2014 student protest

A photo of two police officers running down a road with a crowd of people running behind them has been posted on Facebook with the claim that the cops were being chased by mourners at a popular musician’s burial in Kisumu, Kenya.

“Polices officers deployed to oversee the burial of Jachiga were forced to scamper for safety after being overwhelmed by the masses who bayed for their blood,” one post reads.

“Mourners chasing police officers at the burial of the musician in Kisumu,” says another.

The posts appeared just hours after the chaotic burial of the musician Bernard Onyango, known as Jachiga, near Kisumu in western Kenya on 12 June 2020.

It was reported that thousands of mourners had tried to stop the burial, claiming it was too soon. The police intervened and the situation deteriorated into running battles, with shots fired in the air and teargas launched.

But does the photo show mourners chasing police during the burial? 

‘Riot police retreat’

A Tineye reverse image search reveals that the photo is almost six years old. It was used in an article on the Star newspaper’s website on 20 September 2014, but the link is now broken.

A Google search for the link text took us to a caption on the AllAfrica website, also dated 20 September 2014.

It reads: “Riot police retreat after they were overwhelmed by stone throwing university students on State House Road yesterday.” 

The text is credited to the Star. The page adds: “University students yesterday engaged police in running battles as they called for the resignation of Higher Education Loans Board CEO Charles Ringera.”

State House Road is in Nairobi, about 350 kilometres from Kisumu. 

Using Google maps, we managed to locate the spot on State House road where the photo was taken, based on the vegetation – the tree with long broad leaves next to an overgrown bougainvillea shrub, followed by two mature trees, the wall, and the maze of electricity lines. The university hostels are on that road.

The Star published other photos of the protest. It was also covered by the Standard newspaper and Capital News. – Dancan Bwire


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