BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 January 2008, 12:02 GMT
'Targeted for marrying a Kikuyu'
Kenyans mainly from the Luo ethnic group at a makeshift roadblock in Kisumu, western Kenya

Professor David Habel Odongo, from the Luo ethnic group, married his wife, a Kikuyu lady, more than 20 years ago. All this time, they have lived in Dunga in western Kenya. But he tells the BBC's Muliro Telewa why, in the inter-ethnic post-election violence, his family's livelihood has been lost and his wife's life threatened.

I was targeted because I am married to a Kikuyu.

There is no other reason why they should have attacked me and identified me.

They were attacking selectively.

At about 0830 local time (0530 GMT), a big group of people not numbering less than 300, wielding pangas [machetes] and axes, came to my guest house and hacked the gate down.

Some ran, charging straight in, broke the windows and literally everything. Not even just breaking - some were smashing things onto the floor.

Why, why, why?

They took away a lot of things; maybe 50 tables and gas cylinders.

Kikuyu lady
This lady, like Professor Odongo's wife, had to flee for her life

Why, why, why? Why did they say they were doing this?

They did not come to argue or to listen to my pleas. I asked them, now, why have you come to destroy my things? I am a fellow Luo like yourselves.

None of them could answer me.

In fact, they were shouting. They didn't even want to listen to me.

They just marched in and broke into all the rooms, took away all the bedding, the mattresses, the beds, the mosquito nettings - anything that they could lay their hands on.

The total cost of what has been destroyed is 13-15m Kenyan shillings ($180,000-210,000).

Tribal issue

I have been married to my wife for over 20 years and I have lived in Dunga for all that time with my lady. We have grown up children - they are at high schools in Uganda.

Last night, I sent my wife away because after those people destroyed everything we had, they said they would come for her.

So the police rescued her and my mother-in-law, who had been visiting. We took them to the airport and got them tickets and flew them to Nairobi.

I have since called the chief of the area where the attackers came from, asking him to come and talk to his people.

It's a tribal issue the fact that I am married to a Kikuyu.

They don't see her as Odongo's wife, they see her as a Kikuyu.



RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific