A cavalcade of boda-boda motorbikes passed our office. The riders were spread out across the road, driving more sedately than usual, all honking their horns. I raised my camera and started filming. Drivers and their pillion passengers saw this and began to pose, thumbs raised in greeting. Behind them came a motorcade of cars flanking a private ambulance, Collo Rescue Team, siren wailing and roof lights flashing. Two men in suits leaned out of a saloon car, one taking photographs. A black hearse from Tenri Ena Funeral Home came into view, followed by more cars and another black hearse.
“Who is the dead person?” I asked a bystander. “It is the fireman who died last week,” he replied.
I read about this sad event a few weeks previously in the newspaper. Apparently, at 2am on a rainy night, the fireman entered a government compound through a gap in the perimeter wall. The guards did not recognise him, called out and then opened fire as he tried to escape the way he had entered. He was killed instantly by the hail of bullets.
Security is tight in Embu like it is in the rest of Kenya. Twenty years ago, the US Embassy in Nairobi was bombed. Al Shabaab terrorists killed 67 people in Westgate Shopping Mall in 2013. Three years ago, gunmen attacked Garissa University College in the North East of Kenya with the loss of 147 lives, almost all Christian students.