Sonko rescue team, Migori police clash over release of woman, 87, jailed over chairs


Risper Ongwena, 87, who was released from Migori GK Prison on Wednesday after a push by Nairobi Senator MIke Sonko’s rescue team and county Senate aspirant Solomon Hodo. Photo/MANUEL ODENY

Police reportedly sped away from a prison with an 87 year-old woman who had been detained for days after the Sonko Rescue Team demanded her release.

Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko’s team camped at Migori GK Prison on Wednesday demanding the release of Risper Ongwena.

Ongwena was remanded to the prison after failing to raise a Sh5,000 police bond for allegedly handling stolen property.

Her son left two plastic chairs he had stolen outside her house and went into hiding on the day she was arrested.

Ongwena, who spent Christmas and New Year at the prison, would have been in custody until January 19 had fine not been paid.

The rescue team and Migori Senate aspirant Solomon Hodo paid the amount at Rongo magistrates court at about 8.30am.

Hodo said prison wardens were aware of this but refused to let them into the premises, insisting the woman had to be transferred to the court for official release.

“We have been here for close to four hours. We sought her release but it was delayed until the fine was lifted in Nairobi,” said Sonko’s personal assistant George Omolo.

Migori county police commander David Kirui reportedly arrived at 1.30pm and ordered that Hodo, the rescue team, journalists and members of the public be sent away.

“Police chose to speed from the prison with the woman and took a rough road. She vomited on her clothes due to the commotion,” Hodo said.

The woman was freed at about 4pm after appearing in court and later taken to Pastor Machage Memorial Hospital in Migori town for a medical check by the rescue team.

Hodo bought items including two plastic chairs and a blanket for her, and gave her some money before she was escorted to her home.

“I thank God for allowing me to go home. I never knew this day would come,” Ongwena said and thanked Sonko and Hodo.

Her daughter Margaret said she suffered while in remand, noting she is prone to illness.

She said they did not request bond or hire a lawyer as they are poor.