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Kenyans export domestic violence to US as cases of wife battery and killings rise

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Emily Kwamboka before and after she was assaulted by her husband

Kenyan woman is admitted in a hospital in Minnesota, USA, with serious injuries after she was allegedly assaulted by her Kenyan husband.

Police in New Brighton City were called to a petrol station in the city to find a woman identified as Emily Kwamboka unconscious. Emergency medical personnel rushed her to Norton Hospital, where she was admitted with multiple facial and neck injuries.

Authorities in Minnesota are holding Bernard Mogaka Okero on multiple charges of assault, battery and attempted murder through strangulation.

The assault outraged Kenyans on social media across the US with many calling for tough measures against domestic violence among African immigrants.

Kwamboka’s is the most recent in rising number of incidences of domestic violence reported among Kenyan immigrants across America.

Minnesota and New Jersey, the two states after Texas with a large Kenyan, immigrant population, are considered hotbeds of domestic violence.

About seven years ago, an enraged man — Justus Kebabe — butchered his wife and two teenage children in a domestic quarrel. He was sentenced to 76 years in prison.

In New Jersey, Henry Okong’o shot dead his wife, Lydia Okong’o, before turning the gun on himself in early March this year.

The couple that left three young children, barely 10 years old orphaned, lived a troubled life, characterised by physical violence episodes.

The killings prompted calls for counseling programmes to help many Kenyan couples to learn coping skills in America.

Last year, a Kenyan man in Brooklyn City, Minnesota, was charged with second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault after attacking his girlfriend with an axe leaving her for dead.

Samuel Nyaboga, 45, was arraigned in court for the attempted murder of his girlfriend in Minnesota after a disagreement.

A witness told police that Nyaboga had bought an axe and used it to hit his girlfriend in the head, causing her a skull fracture. The victim who spent about 10 months in hospital is confined to a wheelchair, incapacitated.

JAIL TERM

Kenyan men in Minnesota gang up to collect funds to bail out one of their own whenever faced with domestic violence charges.

Okero remains in custody after relatives and friends failed to raise the bond of Sh3.5 million. He faces a lengthy jail term if convicted of the domestic battery charges.

Police sources said Okero had violated orders restraining him from the victim.

Kwamboka told the Star that Okero has been beating her and authorities issued a restraining order against him. “Since he was restrained not to come near me, he started stalking me from my place of work. I didn’t know he was doing this until all of a sudden someone attacked me as I fuelled my car outside a gas station,” she said.

Kwamboka, a mother of two who went to America to pursue a nursing career, claimed she had frequently been battered by the father of her children.

“Ever since he became a citizen, he went out of control, attacking me at every opportunity. He drinks excessively and demands money from me failing which, he becomes agitated and violent,” she said.

“I fled to Texas, but he followed me there and threatened to kill me if I didn’t cooperate and live with him.”

Narrating her ordeal, Kwamboka said she had pulled up outside a gas station and as she attempted to open the door to start fuelling, someone pulled her back into the seat and locked the car.

“I asked him what he wanted but before I could finish, he rained blows on my face and began biting and strangling me,” she said.

“I was unable to scream and next I found myself in hospital with my mum on my bedside.”

Kwamboka claimed that due to constant beatings, she had spent time in domestic violence shelters in Minnesota, but whenever she returned, her husband resumed beating her again.

Kwamboka’s mother, Fridah Nyanchama, said her daughter had become enslaved under a depraved and narcissistic man and appealed for justice for her daughter. She said since she arrived in America one year ago, she had witnessed one of the worst episodes of domestic violence in her lifetime.

“I found my daughter nursing a nearly broken hand. She has continued to experience pain and is unable to drive a distance of more than three hours.”

“Kwamboka told me she had been beaten up and left for dead by her husband. After she woke up in hospital, she found her hand heavily bandaged,” Nyanchama said.

She told this writer in Minneapolis that when she tried to intervene and address any disagreements between her daughter and the husband, Okero would attack in broad daylight.

Nyanchama appealed to US authorities to protect her daughter, whom she feared might be killed.

“Before he went to attack my daughter at the gas station, he insulted me as “egesagane eke” — ekegusii diatribe for a girl who has not undergone the traditional rite of passage.

REACTIONS

Kwamboka’s assault drew mixed reactions from Kenyans on social media in the US.

Some Kenyan men accused their women of allegedly becoming “disrespectful” to their husbands once they arrive in the USA.

Henry Momanyi warned Kenyan men who engage in domestic violence to prepare for lengthy jail terms in America because the law on wife battering is strict.

Ayaka Onyambu, who took to Mwanyagetinge social media group, accused Kenyan women graduating from nursing of being rude to their spouses hence the rise in cases of domestic violence.

Onyambu, who is a recent immigrant from Kenya, warned women that violence will continue against them unless they “respected their husbands!” Still, others blamed misogyny among Kenyan men as the major contributing factor for the cases of violence among Kenyan communities.

Two months ago, a group of Kenyan immigrant men met in Atlanta, Georgia, formed “Maendeleo ya Wanaume” for solidarity against women from their country who allegedly called police on them at the slightest provocation.

TheStar.co.ke

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